Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

What is Gender Based Violence



The Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) specifically targets gender based violence against women, i.e. violence that is perpetrated against a woman because she is a woman.

Beyond Sexual and Domestic Violence, Gender Based Violence against Women also includes other violent behaviours perpetrated against women, because of the role expectations for women within the given society or culture.

Some Types of Gender based Violence

Female genital mutilation (FGM):

Female genital mutilation is the removal or injury of the external genitalia of females for non medical reasons.  The practice is rooted in gender inequality, attempts to control women’s sexuality and ideas about purity. It is usually initiated and carried out by women, who see it as a source of honour, and who fear their daughters and granddaughters will otherwise be exposed to social exclusion.  It is usually perpetrated on girls aged between infancy and 15 years. It has many long term physical consequences and in some cases results in death. 

Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation:

Trafficking of people is the transportation of people who have been abducted or deceived into entrusting themselves to the trafficker by the promise of a better life, or while believing they have no other viable option.  Trafficking for sexual exploitation includes for the purposes of prostitution, child sexual exploitation, forced marriage or the making of pornography. 

Forced Abortion:

This can happen for social, financial or one-child policy reasons and the perpetrators can be family members, those controlling the sex industry or a state authority.

Honour-based violence (HBV):

HBV is a term used to describe violence committed on a person by a member of their family or immediate community.  It is motiviated by a perceived need to restore that position of the family or community after the victim is perceived to have in some way dishonoured it.  They may have refused to enter a forced marriage, had sexual relations outside of marriage or have expressed some form of autonomy.  Predominately the victims of HBV are women or girls, but can also be males.  HBV often results in serious physical injury, maiming or death. 

Forced marriage:

Forced marriage is where a person is married without his or her consent and against their will.   Young women and girls are the most common victims but young men can also be forced into marriage. Members of the family or community are often the instigators. It can be associated with abduction and being moved to another country or location. 

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