Violence against Women and Girls

Over­com­ing hu­man rights vi­ol­a­tions against wo­men and girls

Many women, for example indigenous women, women with disabilities, displaced women and LGBTIQ* people, are also affected by multiple discrimination, thereby raising the risk of experiencing violence.

One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexualised violence at least once in their lifetimes. In some regions, this figure rises to 70 per cent of all women. Many acts of violence against women and girls take place in private settings. Violence can take different forms in both private and public spaces, such as domestic and intimate partner violence, sexualised, economic and psychological violence, human trafficking and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM).

More than 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation. 

Over 250 million women and girls were married before their 15th birthday and 72 per cent of those affected by human trafficking are women and girls, the overwhelming majority of whom – 83 percent of women and 72 per cent of girls – experience sexual exploitation such as forced prostitution.

The neg­at­ive ef­fects of all forms of vi­ol­ence:


  • 2% annual cost of violence against women
  • 98% remaining global GDP

International studies show that violence against women and girls causes enormous financial costs, e.g. B. for health care, protection, legal proceedings and also for private companies. In addition, studies estimate that the cost of violence against women is around 2 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) annually. That's equivalent to $ 1.5 trillion.x

Any form of violence negatively impacts on society as a whole.

  • Affected women and girls must cope with daily life while suffering psychological and physical trauma, often without adequate government services and support.
  • Violent events stigmatise and marginalise women and girls, limiting their access to public life, economic participation, political involvement and education.
  • Violence against women is thus an enormous obstacle to progress by restricting women’s personal development and active participation in society.
  • International studies have also shown that violence against women and girls incurs massive financial costs, e.g. for their protection, their health care, legal proceedings, and also for private companies.x

What could be done?

Overcoming such human rights violations against women and girls can be assisted by a wide range of actions, for example, by establishing a network of those affected and informing them of their rights. Supporting governmental and non-governmental organisations that work against gender-based violence and harmful practices is also useful. Initiating dialogue on these often taboo subjects, both in families and in parliaments, is likewise important. 

Vi­ol­ence against Wo­men and Girls: Per­sons

Worldwide, every third woman is affected by physical or sexual violence at least once in her life, in some regions even up to 70% of all women. x


  1. Source: UN Women, (opens in a new window)
  2. Source: UNODC (2018) Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018, S. 25ff. 
  3. Source: World Health Organization (2013): Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence (opens in a new window), S. 2.