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EvidenceWorking Papers and Reports
World Bank

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 programmes targeted at intimate partner violence (IPV) against women. It looks at programmes that aim to change the root causes of violence, such as harmful gender norms, and programmes that seek to empower individuals and communities to take action against IPV.

The review looks beyond IPV prevention programmes that are traditionally focused on providing health and legal support, but programmes that emphasise the prevention of IPV through community mobilisation. As such, it identifies the most effective IPV prevention programmes in order to better advocate practitioners, policy makers, and other key stakeholders. Programmes 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 programmes, group-based gender training, awareness campaigns, and community mobilising, that prove to be effective at preventing IPV. It shows the contributions made by these different IPV programmes in changing the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that contribute to the incidence and the perpetuation of IPV. 

The review further shows that the programmes 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 emphasises 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 Programmes

This document provides six essential steps to adapting community-based programmes 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 programme location depending on the nature of basic services and support systems available, community readiness and other factors that are necessary for programme implementation;
  3. Identify key local partners and develop a support network;
  4. Formalising a locally appropriate programme 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 programme 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