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Evidence SynthesesWorking Papers and Reports

Community Based Approaches to Intimate Partner Violence: A Review of Evidence and Essential Steps for Adaption

This review by the World Bank focuses on primary prevention programs targeted at intimate partner violence (IPV) against women. It looks at programs that aim to change the root causes of violence such as harmful gender norms, and programs that seek to empower individuals and communities to take action against IPV.

The review looks beyond IPV prevention programs that are traditionally focused on providing health and legal support, but programs that emphasize the prevention of IPV through community mobilization. As such, it identifies the most effective IPV prevention programs in order to better advocate practitioners, policy makers and other key stakeholders. Programs reviewed include SASA! and SHARE in Uganda , Somos Differences and Somos Iguales in Nicaragua, Program H in India, and Stepping Stones in several counties. 

This review documents the use of integrated interventions, such as economic empowerment, support services targeting women, legal and policy programs, group-based gender training, awareness campaigns, and community mobilizing, that prove to be effective at preventing IPV. It shows the contributions made by these different IPV programs in changing the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that contribute to the incidence and the perpetuation of IPV. 

The review further shows that the programs that are collaborating with multiple sectors, such as education, health, judiciary, disaster response, etc., and as well as multiple stakeholders contribute to the effective prevention of IPV. Furthermore, it emphasizes the use of challenging, but culturally sensitive dialogues within communities and as well as targeting interventions over a prolonged period of time may yield effective results. 

Design Principals for IPV Programs

This document provides six essential steps to adapting community-based programs to prevent IPV that may be applied to different contexts: 

  1. Understanding the nature, prevalence and dynamics of IPV within a particular contextual setting;
  2. Thoughtful selection of program location depending on the nature of basic services and support systems available, community readiness and other factors that are necessary for program implementation;
  3. Identify key local partners and develop a support network;
  4. Formalising a locally appropriate program by considering the details of design, the approach, intended participants and beneficiaries, evaluation design, budget and timeline;
  5. Prepare necessary material such as manuals, posters, audio/visual resources among other material for the program implementation;
  6. Finalising of the plan to disseminate results of the intervention among local, national and international actors. 
Date published
  • 2016
  • Manuel Contreras-Urbina
  • Brian Heilman
  • Anne Kathrin Von Au
  • Amber Hill
  • Puerto Gómez Margarita
  • Jennifer Zelaya
  • Diana Jimena Arango
Published by The World Bank