Violence Against Women

Government making progress for New Zealand women

24 July 2018

The Minister for Women Hon Julie Anne Genter and Under-Secretary for Justice Jan Logie (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) today welcomed United Nations recommendations to take more action on progress for women.

“We know there is a huge amount of work to do to make things better for women and girls, and this government is absolutely committed to that work,” Ms Genter said.

Under-Secretary Logie attended the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held in Geneva recently instead of Minister Genter. The United Nations has today released the Concluding Observations on New Zealand’s eighth periodic report.

“Gender-based violence is a huge problem and this government is taking a comprehensive approach to eliminating it,” Ms Logie said.

“Budget 2018 allocated $2 million in funding to establish a dedicated body to provide a single point of leadership and accountability for a whole-of-government, and whole-of-society, response to family and sexual violence.

“This body will lead an ambitious plan to prevent violence in all our communities, to change attitudes and behaviours that enable violence to occur and specifically the gendered nature of that violence.”

“We will work with NGOs and New Zealanders to address the issues raised. We all have a role to play in empowering women and girls in all their diversity,” Ms Genter said.

The committee has asked the Government to report again in two years on particular recommendations that relate to gender-based violence against women, abortion, and the Family Court system. 


CEDAW is the primary international instrument that defines women’s rights and sets out an agenda for countries to end such discrimination. New Zealand ratified CEDAW in 1985.

Under-Secretary Logie led the New Zealand delegation at the CEDAW examination of New Zealand’s report on 12 July.

The next New Zealand Government periodic report on New Zealand’s progress, covering the full range of Committee recommendations is due in July 2022.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It can include physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, and it cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, the workplace, in farm fields, refugee camps, during conflicts and crises. It has many manifestations — from the most universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence, to harmful practices, abuse during pregnancy, so-called honour killings and other types of femicide.

The world’s legal obligations to stop violence against women

International and regional legal instruments have clarified obligations of States to prevent, eradicate and punish violence against women and girls. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) requires that countries party to the Convention take all appropriate steps to end violence. However, the continued prevalence of violence against women and girls demonstrates that this global pandemic of alarming proportions is yet to be tackled with all the necessary political commitment and resources.

Violence affects all women

Globally, up to six out of every ten women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. A World Health Organization study of 24,000 women in 10 countries found that the prevalence of physical and/or sexual violence by a partner varied from 15 % in urban Japan to 71% in rural Ethiopia, with most areas being in the 30–60 % range. Violence against women and girls has far-reaching consequences, harming families and communities. For women and girls 16–44 years old, violence is a major cause of death and disability. In 1994, a World Bank study on ten selected risk factors facing girls and women in this age group, found rape and domestic violence more dangerous than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria. Studies also reveal increasing links between violence against women and HIV and AIDS.

UN Women actively works to eliminate violence against women

UN Women plays an active role in supporting the UN Secretary-General’s multi-year UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, launched in 2008. As a designated coordinator, UN Women works together with the UN system and other partners on the campaign’s regional components throughout the world. UN Women’s Trust Fund to end Violence against women provides grants to organisations and other agencies that work to prevent violence against women. UN Women New Zealand's partner in the Marshall Islands, WUTMI, has been a recipient of this fund.

Gender equality will have been achieved when women do not experience violence in their homes, share unpaid care work with men and are represented at the highest levels of business and politics.  No country in the world has achieved gender equality, and the pace of change is frustratingly slow. New Zealand National Committee for UN Women launched the global HeforShe campaign for gender equality by 2030 on 27 November 2015.

Violence towards women

Global Database on Violence against Women

UN Women launched the Global Database on Violence against Women website during the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women 2016, and we are pleased to present you this useful tool.

The Global Database on Violence against Women is one of three websites on the Global Knowledge Platform to End Violence against Women. The platform aims to improve knowledge and coordination among different actors in order to address violence against women more effectively. In addition to the Global Database, the other two websites on the platform are: the Inventory of UN Activities to End Violence against Women, and the Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls.

Violence against women and girls impacts one in three women worldwide. November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the 16 days of activism mobilizes global action to increase worldwide awareness and create opportunities to address challenges and solutions.

UN Women has been at the forefront of efforts to end violence against women and girls. From advocating and supporting efforts for legal transformation to providing comprehensive services to survivors, and boosting efforts to persecute offenders, UN Women seeks to end violence against women and influence positive shift in social attitudes. 

•    The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign which takes place each year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day
•    November 25th was officially chosen by the United Nations the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to commemorate the violent assassination of the Mirabal sisters (Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa) in 1960 by the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.
•    In support of this civil society initiative, each year, the United Nations Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women calls for global action - UN system, governments, civil society organizations and others-, to increase worldwide awareness and create opportunities for discussion about challenges and solutions.
•    The UNiTE Campaign’s 2016 call to action ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’. This year’s initiative takes place with a focus on sustainable funding for efforts to end violence against women and girls, and in the specific context of the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which includes a target on ending violence against women and girls. 
•    The colour orange has been chosen as the official color of the campaign, symbolizing a bright and optimistic future free from violence against women and girls.