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  4. Combating Gender-Based Violence

Combating Gender-Based Violence

Combating Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence (GBV) is any harmful threat or act directed at an individual or group based on their actual or perceived:

  • Sex
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Difference from social norms related to masculinity or femininity

Specific forms of GBV may include – but are not limited to – domestic violence, stalking, sexual violence, technology-facilitated abuse, human trafficking, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).

GBV can include physical, sexual, psychological, economic, and emotional abuse. A perpetrator of GBV can be someone known to the victim, including family members, intimate partners, authority figures, or others. It could also be a person the victim does not know. 

GBV can occur anywhere and at any time, both inside and outside the United States. People may be more vulnerable to GBV during and after emergency situations, such as natural or human-made disasters, conflict situations, or other events that cause displacement or disruption. Acts of GBV such as arbitrary killings, torture, sexual violence, and forced marriage may also be used as a tactic of war or during periods of societal instability.

People of any age, socioeconomic status, culture, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic can experience or perpetrate GBV. Women of color, immigrant women (including those without lawful status), low-income women, minors, individuals with disabilities, and individuals whose sexual identity, orientation, or practices differ from the majority may be more vulnerable to GBV and may face barriers to getting help.

The Victim-Centered Approach

A victim-centered approach places equal value on identifying and providing safety to victims and on investigating and prosecuting crimes. DHS incorporates a victim-centered approach into its policies, programs, and activities. Learn more about DHS’s commitment to a victim-centered approach to combating human trafficking and others forms of GBV.

Additional Information

  • Resources

    Gender-Based Violence general resources, information on publicly available training, and law enforcement resources.

  • Immigration Options for Victims

    Victims of violence may find it difficult to come forward and work with law enforcement because of trauma they may have experienced, and may need help to feel safe and secure.

Council on Combating Gender-Based Violence

The Council on Combating Gender-Based Violence (CCGBV) is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) body that identifies best practices to prevent and address gender-based violence and helps implement those practices across DHS.

Last Updated: 01/24/2024
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