Eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls: some criminological reflections on the challenges of measuring success and gauging progress

Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Sandra Walklate

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The 1993 UN Declaration on Violence Against Women prepared the grounds for the elimination of violence against women and girls (VAWG) as a key ambition of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 with Target 5.2 specifically turning attention towards the elimination of all forms of VAWG in the public and private spheres. In this chapter, we take as given the pressing need to reduce VAWG globally. We also acknowledge that measuring VAW is fraught with difficulties, even where criminal justice system responses exist, and that these difficulties can be magnified in countries which have no domestic laws that criminalise common forms of male VAW, including domestic violence. Thus the realisation of Target 5.2 is faced with specific problems of measurement when what constitutes ‘violence against women’ is contested and when there may be no commonly agreed legal indicators between different jurisdictions to act as a proxy for goal achievement. In light of these challenges, we consider how indicators can be best mobilised to provide useful measurements of progress and success for different communities, and for different types of violence(s) against women in the light of Target 5.2.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Emerald Handbook of Crime, Justice and Sustainable Development
EditorsJarrett Blaustein, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Nathan Pino, Rob White
Place of PublicationBingley UK
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781787693555, 9781787693579
ISBN (Print)9781787693562
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • violence against women
  • measuring violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • femicide

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