Preventing Family Violence with Gender-Transformative Parenting Programmes
Parenting and caregiving programmes offer a promising pathway to improve gender inequality and prevent both intimate partner violence (IPV) and violence against children (VAC) in the home. In this webinar, UNICEF’s Lauren Rumble and Alessandra Guedes describe how violence in childhood is gendered, introduce the links between violence against women and children, and share effective gender-transformative strategies. Then, the Prevention Collaborative’s Lina Digolo highlights key findings and recommendations from parenting programmes. Discussants Clara Alemann and Thandi van Heyningen explain how this evidence has strengthened interventions in Kenya and South Africa.
This is the first webinar in a series about integrating IPV and VAC in violence prevention programmes.
There is a need to better understand the gendered dimensions of violence and to approach gender equality and violence as rights issues that are inextricably linked. Programmes should use gender transformative approaches because:
- Gender inequality and violence are mutually reinforcing.
- Unequal gender norms contribute to violence at individual and national levels.
- Structural gender inequalities increase vulnerability to violence.
- Multiple forms of marginalisation compound vulnerability to violence.
Violence against children and violence against women are inextricably linked. Specifically, IPV and violent discipline in homes intersect in several ways:
- IPV and violent discipline often co-occur in the same household.
- Children whose mothers experience IPV suffer negative consequences, regardless of whether the children experience violence directly.
- Both IPV and violent discipline have gendered, intergenerational effects: exposure increases the risk of later perpetration (boys) and victimisation (girls).
- IPV and violent discipline have common roots and risk factors (e.g. gender inequality, acceptability of violence, including “discipline”).
- Acceptance of wife-beating correlates with acceptance and use of violent discipline.
Parenting and caregiving programmes have been identified as a promising strategy to improve family dynamics, address gender inequality, and prevent VAC and VAW. The Prevention Collaborative’s evidence review on parenting and caregiver programmes to prevent violence in the home gives examples of programmes that have successfully reduced VAW and VAC and offers insights into these programmes’ promising approaches and components. Common elements across programmes include curriculum content focused on:
- Promoting caring relationships and communication between parents and children;
- Building skills to manage child behaviour through positive reinforcement;
- Developing parental emotional self-regulation skills; and
- Promoting gender equitable relationships in the family.
These programmes were also characterised by specific approaches and delivery methods, including: modelling behavior and interactive, participatory exercises; group-based and/or individual sessions; joint as well as separate sessions by gender; length of exposure of 10-15 sessions; and a universal approach targeting not only families that have already experienced violence. While significant gaps in the evidence remain, the review and presentation highlight that it is possible to integrate strategies that address both forms of family violence.