The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women – a collaboration of Vital Voices Global Partnership, the Avon Foundation for Women and the U.S. Department of State – has presented a new initiative to address gender-based violence: the Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative.

Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Alyse Nelson, CEO of Vital Voices, Fergie, Avon Foundation Ambassador, William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State, and Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products, Inc.
Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Alyse Nelson, CEO of Vital Voices, Fergie, Avon Foundation Ambassador, William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State, and Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products, Inc.

In making the announcement, Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson said, “we are delighted to be part of this new initiative that leverages the knowledge and expertise of our global women leaders to rapidly and effectively identify and respond to the immediate needs of victims. From providing legal services to women who have suffered domestic violence, to creating viable employment opportunities for survivors of human trafficking these leaders know their communities and they have designed solutions that restore freedom and dignity. They are bringing us closer to a world free of violence.”

The Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative is a first-of-its-kind global program dedicated to assisting victims of extreme forms of gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices around the world. The Initiative takes comprehensive steps to eradicate domestic violence, sexual assault, honor crimes and other forms of gender based violence by providing critical support to survivors. By providing short-term emergency grants to cover medical care, emergency shelter, legal assistance, and other related costs, the program allows victims in urgent situations to access life-saving services.

“Gender-based violence is a global epidemic and an affront to humanity,” said Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. It is our privilege to join in launching the GBV Initiative, a unique partnership which aims to uphold the dignity and advance the human rights of women and girls around the world."

The Initiative takes a holistic approach to addressing these crimes by creating a global gender-based violence training program for law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, government officials, and NGO advocates – The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence. Over the next two years, the program will work with criminal justice professionals and service providers in India, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa and other countries to develop and provide training that promotes a victim-centered approach to holding offenders accountable for their crimes.

Avon Foundation Global Ambassador Fergie said, “The new Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence is designed to ensure that laws achieve their promise. It will go even further to protect women who are victims of violence and secure justice for them. I am so proud to announce this pioneering new partnership of the Avon Foundation for Women, Vital Voices and the State Department.”

Cindy Dyer, Vice President for Human Rights at Vital Voices Global Partnership and a former specialized domestic and sexual violence prosecutor, states “we are honored to be part of these groundbreaking, comprehensive initiatives that will provide victims of gender-based violence not only with the critical services they need, but also with the justice they deserve.”

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