Laws, Policies and Institutions

National laws and policies provide a vital framework for the recognition, protection and enforcement of women and children’s rights in line with international and regional agreements. In the last three decades, numerous countries have passed legislation to criminalise VAWG and stipulate rights to services for survivors. There is also emerging evidence that wider laws which relate to gender equality – for example, land and property rights, inheritance, labour and family law – can also significantly influence levels of VAWG. However, in many countries, there are gaps in legislation on gender equality and VAWG, weak implementation and insufficient budget allocated for this work.

In this section, you can find tips, lessons and examples of approaches to strengthen and reform policies, laws and institutions with a view to ending VAWG. You can take our guided journey through these pages and resources using the interactive carousel below or click on a 'key steps' menu link to read in detail about how to work closely with national governments, judiciaries, parliaments and women’s organisations to support reform and implementation.

Spotlight Initiative

Approach to reforming laws, policies and institutions

A major pillar of the Spotlight Initiative's work has been to work at national level with political leaders, ministries and parliaments to create political commitment and an enabling environment for ending VAWG. This has included work to: