5 steps for violence prevention
Here begins our summary of the strategic work in five steps on how you and your organisation can contribute to preventing violence.
Stopping men's violence against women requires increased and effective preventative work against violence. It is also the first objective of the Government's ten-year national strategy to prevent and combat men's violence against women.
Society's interventions have historically focused on the consequences of violence, rather than on its causes. Sweden's ten-year national strategy for preventing and combating men's violence against women shows a desired shift in perspective, where greater focus is placed on prevention without lowering ambitions to support and protect victims of men’s violence
For this shift to succeed, men and boys need to be involved in changing the norms that justify the range of violence that affects women, children, other men and non-binary people. But notions of what men and boys are, and should be, are kept alive by everyone. Therefore, violence prevention interventions need to address everyone, regardless of gender.
The WHO shows that violence prevention with a critical approach to how gender norms are created is more effective than interventions that do not have a gender perspective. A gender transformative approach means changing and broadening norms related to gender and sexuality. In this way, we can challenge harmful and limiting ideas related to masculinity and femininity, which has an impact on stopping violence.
Violence can be prevented. This is not an article of faith, but a statement based on evidence.
- WHO (2010) Violence prevention: the evidence
Gender transformative work needs to take place in locations that bring boys and young men together, such as football clubs, leisure activities and friend groups. Effective violence prevention work is more powerful in a group context than at the individual level. Men and boys as a group need to reflect together on expected gender roles and social norms that enable violence.
The gender transformative work contributes to broadening the notion of gender as two static binary divisions and includes LGBTQI people. Violence prevention work needs to include as many as possible who could change social norms and help disrupt the normalisation of violence in everyday life. By including more categories than gender, it makes visible how different power orders provide different conditions and opportunities for people. This is called an intersectional perspective.
In your work to prevent violence, you should start from the following four starting points:
The Istanbul Convention is the first legally binding agreement regarding violence against women and girls in Europe. It describes the elimination of violence against women and girls as essential to achieving gender equality and calls on states to take comprehensive action. Sweden ratified the Convention in 2014, and in 2019 we received 41 recommendations from the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO), which is the Convention's review body. In 2022, the Government will report on these recommendations.
The overarching goal of gender equality policy is for women and men to have equal power to shape society and their own lives. Sweden also has six subgoals that set the focus and direction for gender equality policy.
Sweden has a ten-year national strategy to strengthen the conditions for achieving the gender-equality policy subgoal of ending men's violence against women.
The strategy has four objectives:
The strategy highlights two factors in particular: the importance of prevention, and the involvement and responsibility of men and boys in the work against violence.
The national strategy covers all aspects of LGBTQI persons’ exposure to violence, honour-related violence and oppression, and prostitution and trafficking for sexual purposes. It also highlights the particular vulnerability of certain groups, such as people with disabilities, and the violence suffered by young people.
Gender mainstreaming is a strategic tool for achieving a gender equal society. The approach means that a gender equality perspective is included in all decisions, at all levels and at all stages of a process. Gender equality work becomes part of the regular work and shall be carried out by all employees in an organisation.
Inget att vänta på is a handbook in Swedish that brings together knowledge on violence, gender and prevention in one place. It provides concrete guidance regarding how to implement systematic and knowledge-based violence-prevention work in five steps.
5 steps for violence prevention – a summary of the handbook in English
Publication date: 9 June 2021
Last updated: 13 January 2023