3. Missing pieces of the gender-based violence (GBV) puzzle

Though many positive steps have been taken to address GBV, much work remains to be done. GBV rarely functions as an isolated or one-time-only incident. Most forms of GBV are part of an ongoing pattern of abuse. Governments should therefore address the phenomenon in a comprehensive and sustainable manner; it is important that all relevant public organisations, institutions, and services co-ordinate to eradicate GBV. However, barriers in communication and co-ordination between institutions and actors often hinder an effective approach.

Given the multifaceted challenges presented by GBV, adopting a whole-of-state, survivor/victim-centred approach to eradicate the phenomenon is essential. Such an approach incorporates society-wide strategies for preventing GBV, protecting and supporting survivors/victims, and holding perpetrators accountable. In this context, the GBV framework should clearly outline roles and responsibilities for actors and institutions across the government, and encourage capacity building. It should also encourage flexible and targeted government action plans and dedicated high-level political commitment. The framework would need to also establish robust accountability mechanisms that encourage risk assessment and management as well as independent oversight of institutions.

Effectively responding to GBV also requires addressing the persistent bottlenecks in justice pathways. Women and girls who survive violence are particularly in vulnerable situations when facing the justice system. They often face specific barriers in accessing justice, including financial costs, stigma, harassment, and re-victimisation throughout the process. Survivors/victims have multi-faceted legal and related needs that often fail to be addressed by fragmented and siloed justice systems. As such, the creation of survivor/victim-centred justice pathways, as well as the integration with services that remove barriers, is vital.

Moving forward and in line with the Public Governance Committee (PGC) Strategy for Gender Mainstreaming and Action Plan, the OECD will aim to deepen the analysis of holistic approaches to GBV, as well as to further identify existing country practices and institutions required to design and implement a whole-of-state framework for GBV, to create a culture of societal change and empowerment for survivors/victims, and to identify and close gaps in their systems and accountability mechanisms. As part of this, and in line with the GMG programme of work, the OECD will also conduct further analysis of GBV during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the full impact that COVID-19 has had on GBV as well as identifying good and promising practices and lessons learned from OECD Member and partner countries will be critical to the OECD’s efforts to support the development of comprehensive frameworks for GBV that are effective and responsive in all contexts, including crises.

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