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To respond to these needs, in 2013 UNFPA and UN Women initiated the Joint Global Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence.
In collaboration with other UN partners, the programme is developing guidance to improve survivors’ access to these services and to ensure the quality of these services, with a particular focus on health, justice (including policing and legal aid), social services (such as psycho-social counselling, helplines and safe houses), and coordination and governance.
UNFPA and partner UN agencies are also leading the charge to end violence against women and girls at the global level.
UNFPA co-chaired the Inter-Agency Violence Against Women Task Force, and is a key partner in the UNi TE to End Violence against Women campaign, a worldwide effort led by the UN Secretary-General.
Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.
Gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence.
In Mauritania, for example, UNFPA supported a programme in which midwives worked with imams to call for an end to rape.
Responding to violence against women in development and humanitarian settings is a strategic priority for UNFPA.As the lead UN agency working on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, UNFPA has critical opportunities to reach affected women and girls.Additionally, most women – even in remote areas – are likely to seek family planning or maternal health services at least once in their lifetimes, making health care a critical entry point for violence-related information and assistance.Victims of violence can suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and even death.
UNFPA is one of the UN's lead agencies working to further gender equality and women’s empowerment, and to address the physical and emotional consequences of gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence is not only a violation of individual women’s and girls’ rights.