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The initiative aims to focus on changing the behaviour of bystanders to address or respond to IPV.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is not a new issue but it is probably more prevalent than most of us think. IPV is a leading cause of death and disability for women worldwide. Around the world, 35% of women are estimated to have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their life. Georgia and South Africa are not the exception in the high IPV prevalence. In South African official statistics reports one in five women experienced physical violence by any partner. When IPV occurs, the survivor or perpetrator’s friends, neighbours, or family members often witness or suspect what is happening. These bystanders can play an important role in IPV prevention and reduction, offering help to a survivor or helping to impose consequences on the perpetrator. Frequently, however, bystanders look the other way, and survivors are left unsupported.
UNDP Georgia and South Africa, in collaboration with UN Women in both countries, focus on changing the behaviour of bystanders to address or respond to IPV. The initiative aims to equip bystanders with information, skills and tools to enable them to report or act against IPV and to also identify early signs of IPV before it happens and to stop it from happening. This joint study is a great opportunity for two very different countries with a common challenge to learn from each other. In 2017 and 2018, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and the UNDP country teams in Georgia and South Africa and their partners collaborated to apply a behavioural approach to encouraging bystanders’ actions against IPV. The exploratory research indicated that survivors in both countries do not receive sufficient emotional support and they need greater support to access services.