Violence against women and girls: addressing violence against women and girls in health programming

This 2 part guidance note is part of a series of DFID guidance notes on violence against women and girls. It focuses specifically on how to address VAWG in health programming.



Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is the most widespread form of abuse worldwide, affecting one third of all women in their lifetime. VAWG undermines the mental and physical health of women and girls, violates their human rights and can have a negative impact on long-term peace and stability. In line with its international and national commitments, preventing VAWG is a top priority for the UK Government and DFID. This two-part guidance note is part of a series of DFID guidance notes on VAWG. It focuses specifically on how to address VAWG in health programming, where DFID aims to make progress towards one key impact:

  • women’s and girls’ health outcomes improve as a result of the health sector response to VAWG

This guidance note aims to provide practical advice, tips and examples to support DFID advisors and programme managers and other UK government departments to strengthen the impact of health programmes on preventing and responding to VAWG. It is based on international good practice from bilateral and multilateral donors, UN agencies, international and national NGOs, and DFID’s own programme experience, as well as the latest academic research on health and VAWG.

Part A sets out the strategic rationale and broad approach to addressing VAWG in health programming and covers the following:

  • introduction to VAWG
  • rationale for health programmes to address VAWG
  • addressing VAWG through health programmes: the challenges
  • addressing VAWG through health programmes: entry points
  • DFID’s vision and key outcome areas to address VAWG through health programming* principles to guide health programming related to VAWG

Part B provides specific guidance on designing programmes for each key outcome area:

  • mini theories of change for each outcome
  • developing an engagement strategy
  • options for intervention
  • case studies of promising practices and lessons learned for help with business cases
  • examples of indicators
  • value for money approaches to VAWG interventions
  • summary of WHO recommended health sector interventions
Published 13 July 2015