The SVRI Forum remains the event for all of us working to build evidence and knowledge to improve responses and programmes for the prevention of on violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC) and other forms of violence driven by gender inequality. As the largest abstract-driven research conference in our field, Forum provides a vibrant, informative learning space for researchers, practitioners, activists, policymakers, donors, survivors, and others to network, share and learn on research, innovations and new initiatives on VAW and VAC and other forms of violence driven by gender inequality.
SVRI Forum 2024 will be our 8th global conference, and is especially special, as it coincides with 21 years of service to the VAW and VAC field, of which 5 years as a registered NGO.
Forum 2022: Reflections and learnings
Each SVRI Forum adds another layer of richness and depth to our collective understanding on how to better respond to the needs of survivors and very importantly, how to prevent and end VAW and VAC. The lessons from Forum 2022 were multiple – to follow is a short summary of some of the key themes that emerged because of the rich, diverse, extensive presentations, discussions, and events.
IPV prevention was high on SVRI Forum 2022 agenda. For example, research on IPV prevention programmes with couples showed us that strengthening relationships, challenging inequitable gender norms and unequal power relations, and building relationships skills are important elements of impactful IPV reduction programmes. We were however reminded that we have not reduced VAW and VAC to zero anywhere in the world.
While few, presentations on measures and tools for research on VAW and VAC generated great interest. These presentations and resultant discussions challenged us to rethink how we measure impact and define success. Important and critical discussions were held on the knowledge landscape, the different forms of knowledge, and the critical role different forms of knowledge play in creating better, more effective, transformative and sustainable programmes. Multi-sectoral partnership and collaboration that centre the voices of the people with whom we are building programmes was recognised as important for building better programmes and better evidence, along with the importance of having brave and open conversations on power and control within research and practice.
The lack of adequate levels of funding to end VAW and VAC was a central theme at the Forum. A strong message from delegates was that there needs to be an increased focus on funding researchers in low and middle-income countries to conduct feminist, rigorous and impactful research on VAW and VAC, all the while incorporating a component of self-care and wellbeing. Finally, one of the key important outcomes of the Forum was the reminder of the profound impact of in person connection and engagement.
“Connection precipitates moments of discovery, of renewal, of reimagining.” SVRI Forum 2022 Report.
In reviewing the Forum 2022 programme, some gaps in the evidence presented were noted. For example, many presentations focused on understanding VAW, including prevalence of risk factors for and outcomes of different types of VAW, predominantly intimate partner violence (IPV). And there were fewer presentations on the impact of prevention or response interventions, on both VAW and VAC. Further, there were very few presentations on scale-up and costing of VAW interventions; social norms and their relationship with VAW and VAC were few.
Although there is a growing understanding of risk factors for VAW and VAC, there were few based on protective factors for VAW and VAC, and particularly for high risk/vulnerable groups including, for example, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQ+) populations, people with disabilities, widows, refugees, migrant populations, survivors of trafficking, women and children in conflict-affected settings, children associated with armed groups and other forms of violence including technology facilitated gender based violence and those resulting from traditional harmful practices.
Discussions were limited on the intersections between VAW and VAC, including child sexual violence, child, early and forced marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and effective integrated programmes to address these intersections. And there were very few presentations on programmes and interventions with women and girls with disabilities, LGBTQI+ populations, and other high-risk/vulnerable groups, child sexual abuse (CSA) outside current marriage, i.e., in dating relationships or violence from former partners.
Research on technology facilitated gender-based violence and comprehensive strategies to target this form of violence were also extremely limited. There was a call for more presentations on research methods and tools, along with studies on perpetration and men who use violence.
SVRI Forum 2024 themes
These gaps have helped us develop SVRI Forum 2024 themes along with priority setting agendas. The themes were then further refined and finalised through consultations with Forum delegates and SVRI members. Return to the SVRI Forum 2024 themes page here.