Reducing violence against women by 50% over the next 30 years is possible but only if significant changes to the gender-based violence prevention field are made, according to an Editorial written by Rachel Jewkes from Medical Research Council, South Africa published in this week's PLOS Medicine.
Interpersonal violence is experienced and perpetrated by millions of people worldwide and it was estimated to be the cause of 456,268 deaths in 2010. Furthermore, violence against women is highly prevalent globally particularly in low- and middle-income countries, with partner violence affecting one in three women. An ambitious goal of reducing violence by 50% over the next 30 years has been mooted by the World Health Organization as a rallying point for the global violence prevention community.
While the challenge of addressing violence against women by such a substantial amount seems enormous, Professor Jewkes argues in her Editorial that it is achievable by those working in public health if three problems that affect the violence prevention research field are addressed: reducing fragmentation of research efforts, prioritising evidence-based approaches to violence prevention, and funding a violence prevention pipeline similar to that of the drug discovery field.
Professor Jewkes concludes, "[w]e have to build recognition that reducing rates of violence globally by 50% within 30 years is not just something that must happen, but it's something that can happen. Achieving this requires significant changes to the gender-based violence prevention field, and a new era of large-scale funding and coordination."