UNiTEViolence against women and girls is one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world. A staggering 1 in 3 (33%) women have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global issue that affects all countries through various forms, including sexual abuse, domestic violence and sex trafficking. In some countries globally, the situation is even worse with some 70% of women and girls reporting they have experienced violence due to their gender. Worldwide around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex in their lifetime. Based on data from 30 countries, only 1% of adolescent girls who have experienced forced sex reached out for professional help. Violence – be it sexual, physical, psychological and/or economical – occurs anywhere at any time, whether that is in private or public spaces.

GBV has both immediate and long-term physical, mental and sexual impacts on women and girls, ultimately affecting their well-being and preventing them from fully participating in the society. GBV does not only cause pain and suffering but also devastates families, undermines workplace productivity, diminishes national competitiveness, and stalls development.

A multi-sectoral approach is the most effective way to prevent and respond to GBV. Strong partnerships and joint interventions between governments, organizations and civil societies are instrumental in providing the required support to women and girls who are exposed to or survived violence. Moreover, international studies demonstrate that each $1 invested in GBV prevention saves the economy $5 to $20 in future service costs.

UNiTEViolence against women and girls is one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world. A staggering 1 in 3 (33%) women have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global issue that affects all countries through various forms, including sexual abuse, domestic violence and sex trafficking. In some countries globally, the situation is even worse with some 70% of women and girls reporting they have experienced violence due to their gender. Worldwide around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex in their lifetime. Based on data from 30 countries, only 1% of adolescent girls who have experienced forced sex reached out for professional help. Violence – be it sexual, physical, psychological and/or economical – occurs anywhere at any time, whether that is in private or public spaces.

GBV has both immediate and long-term physical, mental and sexual impacts on women and girls, ultimately affecting their well-being and preventing them from fully participating in the society. GBV does not only cause pain and suffering but also devastates families, undermines workplace productivity, diminishes national competitiveness, and stalls development.

A multi-sectoral approach is the most effective way to prevent and respond to GBV. Strong partnerships and joint interventions between governments, organizations and civil societies are instrumental in providing the required support to women and girls who are exposed to or survived violence. Moreover, international studies demonstrate that each $1 invested in GBV prevention saves the economy $5 to $20 in future service costs.

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Why do we need the campaign in Ukraine?

Gender-based violence is widespread and systematic in Ukraine. Moreover, women are survivors of gender-based violence in 90% of GBV cases4. In particular, according to the Ministry of Social Policy, in 2018, 110 687 domestic violence complaints were recorded (compared to 96 245 appeals in the same reporting period in 2017, which is 13% increase), out of which 91087 appeals were from women, 14457 were from men and 1005 were from children (no disaggregation by sex).

According to the National Representative Survey on the prevalence of violence against women and girls conducted in 2014, at least 22% of women in the age between 15-49 have experienced at least one form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Three in ten women (28%) have experienced physical or sexual violence from a previous partner; 24% faced physical or sexual violence from non-partner. Also: as per their evidence 5% women experienced sexual violence in relations with current partner, 7% -- with previous partner, 5% -- with non-partner and 7% with any partner

The society believes that a woman often herself provokes violence. Every second respondent agrees that it is the woman’s fault that she was raped if she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. About one third believe that women can provoke sexual abuse by indiscriminate relationships with men or by provocative outfits. According to 11% of women and 23% of men, if a woman was raped, she herself did something that led to these consequences.

Women facing multiple forms of discriminations, such as women with disabilities, women living with HIV, women ethnic minorities, LBTIQ, internally displaced women etc., are much more vulnerable to all forms of gender-based violence and they are more likely not to report to police and other institutions due to their status, stigmatization and systemic discrimination. For example, 1 in 3 women living with HIV (35.3%) experienced violence from their partner or spouse. This share is considerably higher than the average for Ukrainian women in general (19%). More than half (51.3%) of the women surveyed had no support whatsoever after experiencing violence. The HIV diagnosis considerably increases the probability of being subjected to violence in all spheres, and, to the greatest extent – by 15.5 times! – specifically in healthcare settings, which women have to deal with in order to secure timely and proper care and treatment, and to lead a productive life.

Speaking about their sexual life, one in five women with HIV has sex solely for the satisfaction of her partner, but never initiates sex herself, and 35.6% of the respondents always or usually have sex when her partner wants it. Of women living with HIV, 10.7% consider their HIV positive status or fear of infecting their partner (8.9%) an obstacle to enjoying their sexual lives. This remains an issue whether such approach can be considered as a sexual consent, and in this regard, it becomes obvious that so-called matrimonial duties are a violation of the physical integrity of a human being.

Talking about the principle of consent it is important to note that only 9 out of 31 European Economic Area countries have laws that determine sex without consent as rape. Even though Ukraine is not a member of EEA, it has relevant legislative framework designed to protect survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Amendments to Criminal Code of Ukraine, which came into force o

n January 11, 2019, address the issues related to rape, sexual abuse and assault, sexual consent, protective orders, etc. These positive developments at the legislative level are critically important in order to eliminate gender-based, domestic and sexual violence and protect of its survivors.

Internally displaced women face increased vulnerability to various forms of violence during the conflict, including humiliation, insults, intimidation, blackmail, verbal threats, physical violence, confiscation of money or property, confiscation of official documents, forced labor without pay, and being subjected to improper sexual comments.

Moreover, women and girls are often considered as the key targets for sexual violence in armored conflicts and wars. The conflict also exacerbates the frequency and brutality of all forms of gender-based violence, especially sexual violence and rape, as it part.

In view of the above, in 2018, the Government of Ukraine updated the National Action Plan and incorporated aspects of the Strategy for Prevention of and Response to the Conflict Related Sexual Violence in Ukraine. The Action Plan, amongst others, includes education and training programs for the security sector on prevention, protection and response aspects, along with psychological assistance and rehabilitation program for survivors of CRSV, and envisages an information campaign on prevention of sexual violence, etc.

For the first time, the Government Action Plan for 2018 outlined the priority of introducing gender advisers and gender mainstreaming in higher education institutions in the security and defense sectors.

One of the major challenges faced by survivors of GBV is access to quality essential services including safe spaces and psycho-social counseling. Through mobile teams operating in 12 regions, psychosocial support and targeted assistance have been provided in 62,690 GBV cases since November 2015. The National GBV hotline received more than 103,448 calls since January 2016; 87% of reported cases of violence were incidents of domestic violence. Currently, the shelters for GBV survivors are available in 12 regions of Ukraine. And it is only the beginning. The network of daycare crisis centers and counselling points is being developed. Moreover, healthcare system received new tool to identify and support SGBV survivors in confidential, safe and descent manner, that is fully in line with international principles and procedures.

According to the recent research “Masculinity Today: Men’s Attitudes to Gender Stereotypes and Violence against Women”, 18per cent of male respondents agreed that if a woman cheats on a man, it is considered appropriate if a man hits a woman. In addition, 19% of male respondents agreed with the statement that when a woman is raped, she usually did something to put herself in that situation/position

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Economic costs of violence against women totaled up to $208 million in 2015, or 0.23% of Ukraine’s GDP, which is equivalent to the annual budget of Odesa city.

Apart from adoption of gender-sensitive legislative norms, a very important step towards strengthening actions aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls in Ukraine is the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) by Ukraine. The Convention was signed in 2011, but has not yet been ratified, thus Ukraine is not legally bound. Its ratification was among the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) provided to Ukraine.

Take action now!

  • You can listen, believe and support someone who discloses having experienced violence;
  • If you have experienced violence or witnessed it, seek help at the National Hot Line 116123 (mobile), the police (102), at the nearest medical facility and centers of social services for family, children and youth;
  • Join in the events of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence! Visit the website www.un.org.ua and the United Nations in Ukraine page in Facebook to hear about what can be done, who can help, and what mechanisms already exist to support women and girls.
  • Become an advocate for GBV survivors – break the cycle of silence and stop tolerating violence in any form.

Who is involved in the Campaign and where?

Implementing the 2019 Campaign the UN Country Team in Ukraine will take a partnership approach to its advocacy initiatives by involving young women and men as equal stakeholders along with the gender equality activists of other generations, working with them and along-side of them, while valuing their knowledge, experience, expertise and input.

The UN Ukraine will engage gender equality and women’s human rights activists from diverse groups across intersectional complexities including marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religious and ethnic identities, internally displacement, refugee or migrant status. A special focus will be paid to the youth engagement. The UN Ukraine involvement of youth for UNITE Campaign will focus on adolescents aged 13 to 17, young women, non-binary and trans youth, boys and young male, gender equality activists aged from 18 to 30. Engaging youth from different age groups, ability status, and regional background will ensure inclusion, while emphasizing the importance of leaving no one behind.


United around common goal we are organizing various events during 25 November – 10 December to raise awareness and take action to end gender-based violence across the country. The 2019 global campaign theme adopted in Ukraine is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape!”, reinforces the UniTE Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence, especially sexual violence and rape as its part, for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and

marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others, first.

In Ukraine this year campaign is conducting with #ДійзаЗгоди and promote the culture of consent.

We encourage you to join our online campaign and share information about the consent as a prevention mechanism for rape or any kind of sexual abuse.

The invitation to the kick-off public event, which will take place in December 11, will be placed on the official United Nations in Ukraine resources.

For more information, please find the updated calendar of events here: www.un.org.ua and the United Nations in Ukraine page in Facebook.

For additional materials and background documents (including information for journalists) please contact:

Ms. Olena Laba
UN Public Information Officer

Tel. +38 044 253 93 63 (ext. 140)
E-mail: olena.laba@un.org