Violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC) remain widespread - with 35% of women across the world estimated to experience physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) at some point in their lives.[1, 2]  Globally, it is estimated that one in two children ¬– or one billion children aged 2 – 17 years old have experienced some form of violence in the past year.[3] Increasing evidence points to the deep connection between childhood exposure or experience of violence within the home with increased risk of later perpetration of violence by males and victimisation by females. [4, 5]

The historical development of   VAW and VAC research, advocacy and programming have meant that the areas of work have emerged as two distinct fields. [6] The parallel trajectories of the areas also led to separate theoretical underpinnings and limited focus on understanding the relationship between these forms of violence, particularly in the same households. [1] This has led to programmes, policies, funding streams following parallel paths with limited integration. [6] More recently there is an emerging evidence base documenting the ways VAC and VAW intersect but these studies are primarily concentrated in the Global North. [7, 8] As a result, a gap exists in both the literature and strategic programming to address the overlap between these forms of violence in the Global South.

A global narrative review developed a framework for six pathways in which VAW and VAC intersect [1]. These pathways have guided a scoping review conducted by the Children’s Institute that focussed on 1) providing and updated evidence on pathways in which VAW and VAC intersect over a life course within the household and 2) focusing on the available evidence from the Global South.  With the scarcity of research and programmes specifically focused on the intersections of violence in families within Global South, there is a need to account for the co-occurrence of VAW and VAC and to identify key drivers such as social norms and gender inequality in settings characterised  by structural adversities.

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Prof Shanaaz Mathews, Director of the Children's Institute (UCT), provides a short introduction and discussion about how to bridge the divide between the sectors dealing with violence against children (VAC) and violence against women (VAW).

Promising strategies to address the intersections of VAC and VAW

Programmes, research, and policies on VAW and VAC have historically been siloed without consideration for the intersecting nature of these forms of violence. There is an emerging global call to consider the intersections of VAC and VAW within families and across the lifespan within programming to effectively prevent and reduce violence experienced by women and children in the home.

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Project publications

Informing our understanding and response to the intersections between violence against women and violence against children
Download Scoping Review Report | Download Research Brief


Unpacking the Intersections of Violence Against Women and Violence Against Children in Two Communities in the Western Cape, South Africa
Download the March 2022 report



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The Intersections of violence against women and children project aims to deepen our understanding of the links between VAC and VAW in the Global South, through a scoping review and primary research in two communities in the Western Cape. The project also aims to facilitate dialogue and collaboration to consider joint programming efforts between the two sectors in South Africa and countries across the region.
Read more about the project

Project supported by funding from the Ford Foundation

Ford Foundation