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

A resource package

2. Understanding gender-based violence

2.1        Outline of the module

Duration of the module

2,5 hours

Aim of the module

To enable participants

  • to understand the concept of GBV, its causes and consequences on women’s health,
  •  to understand the dynamics of GBV in intimate partner relationships and the resulting behaviour of patients presenting with symptoms of GBV, and
  • to reflect on common myths surrounding GBV, corresponding facts and how such myths may influence the health care response to GBV.

Key learning messages

Violence against women

  • is gender-based, rooted in unequal power relationships between women and men and violates women’s human rights,
  • affects women in public and private life and encompasses physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence,
  • affects women globally and in the EECA region,
  • has multiple root causes that require a comprehensive response, of which the health sector is an important part,
  • may affect women belonging to marginalized groups disproportionately in terms of either higher exposure to violence or specific obstacles in accessing services;
  • seriously impacts women and girls throughout the life cycle and has devastating impacts on their physical, sexual, psychological and behavioural health; and
  •  in intimate partner relationships always affects children – as witnesses or direct targets of violence.

Background reading

UNFPA-WAVE Resource Package, Part I, chapter 1

Further readings:

DEVAW, CEDAW GR 19, WHO et al 2013, WHO/LSHTM 2010, UN Secretary General 2006.

Main elements of the module and methods used

  • Brainstorming: Defining GBV
  • Presentation by trainer (PPT slides 1-27, distribution of handouts 1-3)
  • Quiz and group discussion: Myths about GBV (handouts 5-6)
  • Presentation by trainer (PPT slides 28-42, distribution of handouts 7-8)

Notes for trainers

Brainstorming: Defining GBV– duration - 20 minutes

Ask participants to brainstorm on acts or patterns of behaviour they see as belonging to GBV. Write the answers on a flipchart. After the brainstorming, discuss the results before introducing the international definitions of GBV (PPT slides  4-7)

Source: adapted from Roks/Myterna undated, cited in WAVE 2008


Quiz and group discussion: Myths about GBV– 40 minutes

Option 1:Distribute handout 5 and ask participants to complete it individually or in pairs (10 minutes). Then facilitate a group discussion in the big group along the questions for discussion listed on handout 5. Distribute handout 6 to present facts contrasting the myths (30 minutes).

Option 2:Distribute handout 5 and split participants up in small groups. Assign 3-5 myths to each group and ask each group to discuss the questions for discussion listed on handout 5 (20 minutes). Then facilitate a group discussion in the big group. Distribute handout 6 to present facts contrasting the myths (see also PPT slides no. 27-29) (20 minutes).

Source: adapted from Fröschl/Löw, cited in WAVE 2008


Materials for training session

Presentation: PowerPoint presentation Module 2 ( download it at the bootom of the page)


Handouts (in chronological sequence, following the structure of the PowerPoint presentation):

Handout 1: Examples of acts of gender-based violence

Handout 2: Examples of gender-based violence documented in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Handout 3: Prevalence studies on intimate partner violence and other forms of domestic violence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Handout 4: Power and Control Wheel

Handout 5: Quiz: Myths or facts about gender-based violence?

Handout 6: Myths and facts about gender-based violence

Handout 7: Health consequences of GBV

Handout 8: Exposure to domestic violence: consequences on children