67th World Health Assembly Adopts Resolution to Address Violence against Women and Children

May 24, 2014 |

On May 24, 2014, the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted a historic resolution entitled “Strengthening the role of the health system in addressing violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children.” The resolution, which was co-sponsored by the Governments of Albania, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Guatemala, India, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Mexico, Moldova, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay and Zambia, is the result of passionate negotiation that ended in the early hours of the morning prior to the closure of the WHA.

Among other tasks, the resolution calls on the World Health Organization (WHO) to prepare its first-ever global plan of action on strengthening the role of the health system in addressing interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children, which WHO is invited to present through the Executive Board to the 69th WHA in 2016.

The new resolution notes that interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls and against children, persists in every country of the world as a major challenge to public health. It raises further concerns that violence has health-related consequences, including death, disability and physical injuries, mental health impacts and sexual and reproductive health consequences, as well as social consequences. It recognizes that health systems are not adequately addressing the problem of violence yet affirms the health system’s role in preventing, responding to and advocating for interventions to combat the social acceptability and tolerance of interpersonal violence.