What is  gender-based violence and abuse?

Gender-based violence is any form of violence or abuse that is directed at someone because of their gender.
Violence can take many forms, including:

  • Domestic violence and abuse 
  • So called ‘Honour-based’ violence 
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) 
  • Forced marriage 
  • Sexual violence  
  • Financial control 
  • Emotional and mental abuse 
  • Stalking and harassment 
  • Coercive and controlling behaviour

Gender-based violence is most often directed at women and girls, although men and boys can also be affected by the forms of violence listed above. It affects all cultures and societies, and can be carried out by: partners; family members; members of the community; strangers; armed groups; the state; and others.

Globally, around one in three women will be affected by gender-based violence at some point in their lifetime.

In the UK and Ireland, there are a range of agencies that can help and support people affected by violence and abuse.

Abuse is ALWAYS wrong and NEVER acceptable. It is NEVER the victim’s fault. 
Ultimately, only the person experiencing abuse can decide what course of action to take.  
If you are experiencing abuse there are a number of actions you could take:

  • Contact the police or another appropriate agency if it is safe and appropriate to do so.
  • If you feel it is safe to do so, disclose the violence to a trusted person.
  • Seek support from a specialist agency, such as those listed in this leaflet.
  • Make a safety plan to protect and increase the safety of yourself, and any children, either within an abusive relationship or if you decide to leave. Identify a safe place you can go to, store provisions, medication and documents that you will need and try to make any plans untraceable by your abuser.
  • Keep a record of the violence (in a safe place) if appropriate in case you want to give evidence in the case of any prosecution.

A Mothers’ Union Resource produced for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2016. 
www.mothersunion.org mu@mothersunion.org


In an emergency always dial 999 straight away for help.

Forced Marriage Unit Helpline:  020 7008 0151*
Men’s Advice Line:  0808 80 10 327 www.mensadviceline.org.uk
National Centre for  Domestic Violence:  0800 970 2070 www.ncdv.org.uk
National Domestic  Violence Freephone Helpline:  0808 2000 247
National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline:  0800 999 5428

Rape Crisis Freephone Helpline:  0808 802 9999 www.rapecrisis.org.uk
Refuge:  0808 2000 247 www.refuge.org.uk
Samaritans:  116 123 (Free from landlines and mobiles) www.samaritans.org
The Survivors* Trust  01788 550554 www.thesurvivorstrust.org
Victim Support:  08081689111 www.victimsupport.org.uk
Women’s Aid:  0808 2000 247 www.womensaid.org.uk


Amen (for men):  046 9023 718* www.amen.ie
Crime Victims Helpline:  116 006 http://crimevictimshelpline.ie
Samaritans:  116 123 www.samaritans.org/ your-community/samaritanswork-ireland
Sonas Housing:  087 952 5217* http:/www.domesticabuse.ie/
The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence:  01 4768680* http://www.cosc.ie/
Women’s Aid:  1800 341 900 www.womensaid.ie

* Call charges may apply