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UN Women

DFID Guidance Note: Shifting Social Norms to Tackle Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)

This guidance note seeks to advise how programmes targeted at VAWG prevention can identify and address harmful social norms and constructions that sustain violence. It focuses on intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-parter violence in order to advise on effective designing and implementation of VAWG programmes, and as well as their monitoring and evaluation. 

The guidance note sets out an introduction to social norms that promote harmful behaviour in producing and sustaining VAWG. It explains how harmful social norms are sustained in individual and group settings. It advocates the VAWG programmes to design interventions that not only change existing social norms, but also shift expectations and create new social norms to change behaviour within an individual reference group. 

The guidance note provides insights on how to diagnose, measure and evaluate social norms within a particular setting through research methods, such as qualitative focus groups and quantitative surveys. It also provides key principals such as taking a rights-based, inclusive, do-no-harm approach to programme design. The guidance note provides insights on training, engaging in community dialogue and mobilisation, using mass media and mass marketing for social change, and as well as influencing laws and policy. 

Date published
  • 2016
  • Michaeljon Alexander-Scott
  • Jenny Holden
  • Emma Bell Bell
Published by Violence Against Women and Girls Helpdesk