The International Violence Against Women Act is a historic effort to address violence against women globally. The legislation provides $1 billion over five years to the U.S. government to create a comprehensive strategy to reduce violence in 10-20 diverse countries that have severe levels of violence against women and girls.
The intended outcome of such a strategy would be two-fold:
- An increase in legal and judicial penalties in countries around the world, for violence against women and girls. The legislation aims to establish and support laws and legal structures that help prevent and appropriately respond to all forms of violence against women and girls, including rape, physical abuse, and child or forced marriage. This would include helping women and girls access the justice sector and ensuring that they are safe and supported throughout the legal process.
- An increase in health sector capacity to address violence against women and girls. The legislation aims to integrate, into already existing global-health initiatives, programs to address violence against women and girls including those focused on child survival, womenâs health, and HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment.
In order to achieve these ends, the bill would take several new steps to reform U.S. foreign assistance in concrete ways. It would:
- Establish efforts to end violence against women as a top U.S. diplomatic priority that should be integrated into all existing foreign-aid programs. The bill would create an Office of Global Womenâs Initiatives in the State Department to coordinate all efforts to combat violence against women, and would create a similar office at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to integrate violence prevention programming into current foreign-assistance activities.
- Create a fund to provide U.S. financial support to local health programs and survivor services, programs that seek to change public attitudes toward violence, and initiatives to promote womenâs access to economic opportunity and education. Funds would also be used to encourage local legal accountability for offenders, reform judicial codes, and promote womenâs access to legal processes.
- Encourage U.S. collaboration with, and funding of, multinational institutions like the United Nationsâ special Trust Fund on violence against women and local womenâs organizations in developing countries that are working to stop violence against women and girls.
- In-depth resources on IVAWA from our partners at Women Thrive Worldwide:
- Statement from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN) introducing IVAWA:
- Report from the UN Millennium Campaign on why gender equity â including eliminating violence against women â is vital to achieving the MDGs: