Strengthening Health System Responses to Gender-based Violence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

A resource package

Understanding gender-based violence

Gender-based violence (GBV) against women is a human rights violation and both a cause and a consequence of unequal power relationships between men and women. It is a public health concern with serious consequences on women’s physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health.

In order to be able to effectively identify and respond to GBV, health care professionals need to have a sound understanding of the concept of GBV, its causes and consequences. Therefore, this chapter discusses the definition and forms of GBV (section 1.1) and the scope of the problem, both globally and in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) (section 1.2). It addresses the causes of GBV (section 1.3), the dynamics of violence in intimate partner relationships (section 1.4) as well as myths surrounding GBV (section 1.5). It explains how women belonging to specific groups may be at higher risk of GBV and/or face specific obstacles when seeking support and protection (section 1.6) and provides an overview of the consequences of GBV on women’s health (section 1.7).