The Commonwealth has announced a new partnership designed to reduce domestic violence in member countries.
Today, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland signed a memorandum of understanding with the NO MORE Foundation which is a global movement of 1,400 allied organisations and 40 international chapters working together to stop and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.
The two parties have agreed to work together to implement initiatives that work on the prevention of domestic violence and sexual abuse as part of wider efforts to achieve the 2030 sustainable development goals.
According to the World Health Organisation, one in three women worldwide has been a victim of sexual and/or physical violence in their lifetime, making it a leading cause of death in women and girls. Reports suggest the abuse remains largely unreported due to impunity, silence, stigma, fear and shame.
The Secretary-General said: “We must say NO MORE to violence against women and girls in both words and action.
“It affects everyone: women, men, children, persons with disabilities and people from sexual and gender minorities.
“It means we must involve and sensitise everyone to support vulnerable individuals, protect survivors of violence and bring perpetrators to justice.
“We must do everything we can to ensure every child in our home and our community grows up in a safe environment. This is the only way to fulfil our Sustainable Development Goal commitments.”
The partnership is designed to help member countries record accurate data on the prevalence of violence, deliver grassroots projects, train community leaders, educate bystanders’ responses and provide awareness resources.
NO MORE Global Executive Director Pamela Zaballa said: "NO MORE is proud to partner with the Commonwealth and grateful to have this tremendous opportunity to help end domestic violence in the 53 member countries.
“We are looking forward to engaging a wide array of governmental, business, human rights and community leaders in this initiative.
“Together, we can dramatically increase awareness and action to prevent violence and meet the 2030 sustainable development goals."
The partnership was announced at an event hosted at Commonwealth headquarters in London, to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Officials from high commissions, businesses, human rights groups and women’s rights organisations participated at the launch of the initiative.
Video credit: NO MORE Foundation
At the event, the Secretary-General also launched the updated Commonwealth Secretariat Gender Equality Policy which reaffirms commitment to mainstream gender across all its programmes, processes and systems delivered on behalf of member countries.