Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK supports millions of people globally in bid to end gender-based violence [March 2024]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 11 March 2024.

UK support has reached over 4 million people over 2 years, helping tackle domestic abuse, child marriage and female genital mutilation, and support survivors of violence.

  • first ever results of their kind show the scale of the UK’s work to prevent and respond to this issue around the world, including in Bangladesh, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Syria
  • Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord Ahmad, visits United Nations for the UN Commission on the Status of Women to call on partners to protect and promote the rights of every woman and girl

New figures on the UK’s support to end Gender-Based Violence (GBV) show how this funding has transformed the lives of over 4 million of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Gender-based violence is a systematic, pervasive, human rights abuse. It threatens the lives and wellbeing of women and girls, and prevents them from accessing opportunities for education, employment and healthcare. However, it is preventable.

Between April 2021 and March 2023, the UK has provided 4.2 million people across the globe with gender-based violence prevention or response services.

The Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron said:

The UK is determined to work with our partners to resist the rollback of rights we are seeing around the world.

Gender-based violence is holding back women and girls, but things can and must change. The UK’s approaches have shown reductions in violence of up to 50% in some countries.

By investing in sexual and reproductive health services, and reaching millions of girls with services to end devastating practices like Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage, we are proud to help women and girls to reach their full potential.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth, and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict (PSVI) said:

I’m honoured to be at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, joining the global conversation on reforming the humanitarian system to protect women and girls against gender-based violence. This is a critical issue that affects millions – a violation of human rights that demands a united front.

I am proud that the UK has reached over 4 million people, including survivors, with vital support, but our work doesn’t stop here. We are committed to this collective effort for a future free from gender-based violence.

Examples of the UK’s work include:

  • working in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund to help over 1 million Rohingya refugees living in camps in Bangladesh by providing 56 safe spaces that ensure the rights, health and safety of women. These spaces have helped provide access for sexual and reproductive health services, including psychosocial support, family planning, and support for survivors of rape. The UK has also supported community leaders and women-led organisations with prevention activities including skill training, campaigning, and male engagement initiatives to shift attitudes and stop stigma
  • addressing intimate partner violence, which is the most prevalent form of violence against women globally. The Stopping Abuse and Female Exploitation (SAFE) Programme in Zimbabwe which is working with couples and communities to prevent violence against women and girls, particularly those most at risk. It focuses on addressing economic insecurity and discriminatory attitudes that drive violence
  • preventing gender-based violence in a crisis, as an estimated 20 to 30% of women and girls experience non-partner sexual violence in conflicts. Through our Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative, we have helped Sisma Mujer, a women’s rights organisation in Colombia to provide legal support to survivors of sexual violence
  • the UK is investing £35 million in the Africa-Led Movement to end femail genital mutilation (FGM) (2019 to 2027) –  Phase II of FCDO’s flagship ending FGM programme in Kenya, Senegal Ethiopia and Somaliland to support activists and grassroots African organisations who are leading change from within their communities
  • supporting women’s rights organisations and survivor-led organisations including through the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women and Girls which partners with grassroots organisations, and the Africa-Led Movement to End Female Genital Mutilation Programme, which is supporting activists to drive change from within their communities

The new results come as Lord Ahmad, Minister for the United Nations today (March 11) attends the United Nations Commission for Status of Women (CSW) – the biggest multilateral forum on women and girls’ rights to discuss how to accelerate progress towards gender-equality.