What's Gender got to do with it?

The prevention and elimination of all forms of VAWG require, as a starting point, a shared understanding of the nature and causes of such violence. Members of the Dundee VAW Partnership have agreed that the term violence against women should be defined as including:

  • domestic abuse (including coercive control)
  • rape and sexual assault
  • childhood sexual abuse (including incest)
  • sexual harassment and intimidation at work and in public spaces
  • commercial sexual exploitation and prostitution
  • pornography
  • trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation
  • dowry related violence
  • harmful practices (including female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child marriage and 'honour' crimes

The Dundee VAW Partnership continues to follow a gendered analysis, in line with Scotland's National Strategy, Equally Safe in its approach and understanding of violence against women.

Based on the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Equally Safe adopted the following definition of gender based violence:

‘Gender based violence is a function of gender inequality, and an abuse of male power and privilege. It takes the form of actions that result in physical, sexual and psychological harm or suffering to women and children, or affront to their human dignity, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. It is men who predominantly carry out such violence, and women who are predominantly the victims of such violence. By referring to violence as ‘gender based’ this definition highlights the need to understand violence within the context of women’s and girl’s subordinate status in society. Such violence cannot be understood, therefore, in isolation from the norms, social structure and gender roles within the community, which greatly influence women’s vulnerability to violence.’

By adopting a gendered analysis, the Dundee VAWP does not deny or minimise the use of violence against men or within same sex relationships. The gendered analysis is a reflection that women and girls are disproportionately affected by particular forms of violence that they experience because they are women and girls. Many men, boys and people who do not identify as female are also victims of violence and abuse and the Partnership is committed to challenge this and to ensure appropriate support to such victims.

Please see Scottish Government paper for more information


Intersectionality is the idea that people experience discrimination in different ways and in varying degrees of intensity based on social categorisations (such as their race, class, gender, gender identity, ability and sexuality), which are interconnected and cannot be viewed independently. 

The most important message to take away is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to understanding and preventing gender based violence.

It is a concept that allows us to keep an open mind when thinking about the different ways in which people experience gender and violence. It is a concept that allows us to realise each woman experiences this issue in a different way, and may face additional barriers based on race, sexuality, age, and ability. Some examples of why this understanding is important are:

  • Disabled women are twice as likely to experience men’s violence as nondisabled women.
  • 83% of trans women have experienced hate crime at some point in their lives.
  • Black and minority ethnic (BME) and migrant women face higher levels of domestic homicide and abuse driven suicide.
  • Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women experience VAW and we recognise that whilst all the information on this website regarding the signs, characteristics and myths around VAW may also be true for LGBT women, there are also some specific elements to the VAW they may experience.

In a paper written by Nel Whiting - 'A Contradiction in Terms?: A Gendered Analysis & Same Sex Domestic Abuse' -

She quotes Alison Symington who says that 'intersectionality starts from the premise that people live multiple, layered identities derived from social relations, history and the operation of structures of power. People are members of more than one community at the same time, and can simultaneously experience oppression and privilege. Intersectional analysis aims to reveal multiple identities, exposing the different types of discrimination and disadvantage that occurs as a consequence of the combination of identities'.(2004, 2)

Intersectionality can allow us to understand the way in which multiple identities and discrimination combine to make up an individual’s experiences of both oppression and privilege.

For more information please see the following links:

Survey about disabled women's experiences

Equality Network Hate Crime Report

Intersectionality and GBV

Young People

Young People

Violence in young people's intimate relationships is also a growing problem, with girls and young women reporting higher rates for all forms of violence and a greater level of negative impacts.

Young people too often see this violence as 'normal' and with the increased pressures facing young people, due to sexualised images, social media and more readily available pornography, there is a clear need for a prevention initiative to tackle this issue.

Domestic abuse in adult relationships has, over the past 15 years, come to be defined as a major social problem in both policy and practice agendas. Violence and abuse in young people’s own relationships has not been recognised to the same degree. Research has shown that teenage partner violence does not stop when a relationship ends, in many cases the level of violence often intensified after the relationship was over. As victims rarely spoke to parents or other adults about the violence, their ability to protect themselves was limited due to their ex-partners knowing where they went to school, their movements and who their friends were. What is clear is that ending a relationship does not necessarily protect a young person from violence unless further safeguarding strategies are also put in place.

Teenagers’ use of violence requires careful consideration and a gendered approach which recognises the greater impact on girls is needed. Nevertheless, both girls’ and boys’ use of violence requires addressing, although the findings indicate that it is older boys, and probably those who have left school, who are instigating much of the more severe forms of violence. The role of violent peer groups in supporting partner violence needs to be addressed in intervention programmes and wider initiatives working with violent boys, including young offenders.

It is essential that young people are protected from partner violence. How this is achieved is still open to debate and interpretation and is a priority area of focus for the VAWP.

Please see the following links for more information:

Safe Lives

Article from Education (England)

Briefing paper from a survey of young people

AVA various links to information about young people and relationships