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23 June 2021, Canberra/Bangkok: Addressing violence against women has long been an urgent public health and human rights priority. Yet, in some countries in the Asia-Pacific region, up to 68% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has signed an agreement granting AUD 3 million (~USD 2.3 million) to the UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office to continue the kNOwVAWdata initiative, which aims to sustainably strengthen regional and national capacities to measure the prevalence of violence against women in Asia and the Pacific.

The initiative, which is a joint collaboration between UNFPA and DFAT, supports the collection of reliable and robust data through ethical and safe measures to inform effective policy and programme responses to prevent and end violence against women.

Prevalence data is crucial to informing and monitoring prevention and response efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls. Australia is pleased to continue our contribution to the kNOwVAWdata initiative to support good decision-making to address violence against women and girls in Asia and the Pacific”, said H.E. Julie-Ann Guivarra, Australian Ambassador for Gender Equality.

Since its inception in August 2016, the kNOwVAWdata initiative has provided technical guidance to 15 countries in Asia and the Pacific to conduct surveys on the prevalence of violence against women, of which 9 surveys have been published.

A data-driven approach which advocates for reliable, comparable and nationally representative data on violence against women is essential to ensure evidence-based policies that are relevant and effective. Through the kNOwVAWdata initiative, and the support from our partners, we have been able to provide and strengthen this expertise in countries across the region”, said Björn Andersson, UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Director.

The contribution from DFAT will ensure continuity of this important initiative through Phase II (2021 to 2024) with continued focus on increasing the availability of robust and reliable national prevalence data on violence against women by strengthening capacity to measure, understand and use the data for policy advocacy. The initiative will also support and promote the usability of data for policies and programmes that work to end violence against women.

DFAT is a long-standing partner of UNFPA and the largest contributor to the UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office in addressing and preventing violence against women.


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About DFAT: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) promotes and protects Australia’s international interests to support Australia’s security and prosperity. DFAT works with international partners and other countries to tackle global challenges, increase trade and investment opportunities, protect international rules and help Australians overseas.

About UNFPA: UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, working to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls. UNFPA works in over 150 countries globally, including 36 in Asia and the Pacific.

For more information:

Roy Wadia, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office:
DFAT Gender Equality Branch: