Global Resources

Addressing Gender Violence in a Reproductive and Sexual Health Program in Venezuela

Author: A. C. Guedes, L. Stevens, J. F. Helzner
Publisher: Population Council
Publication Date: Sep 2002
Gender-based violence (GBV) is widespread in Venezuela. Although an average of 12 women report rape daily - the majority of offences remain unreported. The International Planned Parenthood Federation/ Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR) affiliate in Venezuela - Asociaci¢n Civil de Planificaci¢n Familiar (PLAFAM) sought to understand the effects of social context on its clients' sexual and reproductive health and to meet the needs of victims of violence. PLAFAM adopted three strategies to this end: increasing staff awareness of violence; writing and sourcing materials on violence and sources of support; and working with community advocacy groups. This report fleshes out the components of these strategies and reviews the program. Conclusions include that a number of ethical questions are raised by routine screening for evidence of violence, for example, is it advisable to screen when the full range of services victims might need is not readily available? Many women victims of violence want to talk about their abuse and find talking valuable particularly when offered further support. Finding such support however is still a challenge. Although addressing GBV in the context of sexual and reproductive health services is complex, it is possible.