Domestic violence is a violation of women's human rights. Violence directed against women by their intimate partners (current or former spouses or boyfriends) is an epidemic of global proportions that has devastating physical, emotional, financial and social effects on women, children, families and communities around the world.

Battered women's advocates in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) and around the world work to further women's human right to be free from domestic violence in a variety of ways. Advocates work to provide necessary services to battered women, including referrals, legal advice, shelter, crisis centers, and hotlines. Together with other members of the community, they have worked to develop common understandings of domestic violence and to coordinate the responses of the legal, medical, and social service professionals to enhance victim safety and batterer accountability. Advocates also work to prevent domestic violence through lobbying and community education, as well as through the creation of batterers treatment groups.

Critical to these efforts to combat domestic violence has been the growing recognition of domestic violence as a violation of women's human rights. States are obligated under international law to take effective steps to protect women from violence and hold batterers accountable and to guarantee to women equal protection of the law.

Explore the Issue

This section of the site allows users to increase their understanding of domestic violence through a discussion of theories of violence, the prevalence of the problem, causes and complicating effects, the effect of domestic violence on victims, and strategies for protecting victims and ensuring batterer accountability. 

Research and Reports

This section of the site provides links to selected web-based materials on the domestic violence topics covered in Explore the Issue.

Law and Policy

This section of the site contains information on states' international legal obligations under both the United Nations and the European human rights systems to prevent domestic violence. This section also provides selected national and model legislation on domestic violence.

Training Materials

The STOPVAW site offers sample training materials on domestic violence.  These materials are designed to provide advocates with basic training tools that can be adapted to the country-specific circumstances, the goals of a training program and the training audience. It is recommended that advocates use the training materials on domestic violence in conjunction with the more general Guidelines for Developing a Training Program which introduce a methodology for conducting training for the general public as well as individuals and organizations involved in addressing violence against women. 

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