Defining Violence against Women and Girls

Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations. It is rooted in gendered social structures rather than individual and random acts; it cuts across age, socio-economic, educational and geographic boundaries; affects all societies; and is a major obstacle to ending gender inequality and discrimination globally. (UN General Assembly, 2006)


The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (General Assembly Resolution 48/104 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993).


The terms ‘gender-based violence’ and ‘violence against women’ are frequently used interchangeably in literature and by advocates, however, the term gender-based violence refers to violence directed against a person because of his of her gender and expectations of his or her role in a society or culture. Gender-based violence highlights the gender dimension of these types of acts; in other words, the relationship between females’ subordinate status in society and their increased vulnerability to violence. It is important to note, however, that men and boys may also be victims of gender-based violence, especially sexual violence.

people crowd walking on street

How do you know if you are experiencing some form of violence against women?


You will be experiencing or be in fear of one or a  combination of the following actions from a current or ex-partner, close family member, or members of your partner/ex-partner family:

  • Physical, sexual and psychological violence/abuse
  • Sexual harassment and intimidation
  • Sexual exploitation including prostitution, pornography or being trafficked
  • Dowry related violence
  • Forced and child marriages
  • Honour crimes
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Coercive and controlling behaviour

Violence and abuse between those in an intimate relationship (this includes romantic relationships, dating, domestic and/or relationship violence is really a pattern of abusive behaviour that is used by your partner or ex-partner to gain or maintain power and control over you.

Intimate partner violence/abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.


Women across all our communities, every social and economic group and all ages are currently and have been affected by violence against women in some form.


Violence against women takes many forms and its most common manifestation in Cardiff is domestic violence/abuse and sexual violence/abuse.  This is not to say that all the other forms of violence against women do not occur and are not as devastating to the women involved.


Anyone can experience gender based violence regardless of age, race, religion, sexuality, wealth, education or pretty much any other social or cultural factor you want to use.


Our services are designed so that they will meet your individual need, we won't try to fit you in a box.  Our service RISE is delivered by a highly skilled and trained team of advocates/advisors who will walk with you every step of your journey and wrap our services around you wherever you are on your personal pathway to healing and recovery from the violence and abuse you have experienced.

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Unhappy Children Sitting On Floor In Corner At Home

Children and young people are affected deeply living in a household where violence and abuse is happening.


When we talk about violence against women (and girls) we are also acutely aware that any children and young people in the family, boys and girls, all have to deal with the fallout.  Whether they are directly affected (experiencing the abuse themselves or are used as tools by the perpetrator) or witnessing (even if they are in a different room or not at home at the time of the abuse) they will need some support to understand what has been happening.


The effects on children are as individual as they are so can range from being withdrawn or acting out, nightmares and bed wetting, skipping school or trying to avoid coming home.  Of course there may be plenty of other reasons for children to exhibit troubling behaviour but when coupled with the knowledge that they are living within a violent/abusive relationship we can address those issues from that position of understanding.


Cardiff Women's Aid through its service RISE has specialist children and young peoples workers who can help children who are struggling to cope.

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