Aim and objectives

SVRI aim:

The SVRI aims to increase awareness and promote research on sexual violence and its linkages to other forms of violence to influence policy and practice, particularly in low and middle income countries. 

SVRI objectives:

  • Increase awareness of sexual violence as a priority public health problem through evidence-based communication and information
  • Build capacity in sexual violence research
  • Improve knowledge of sexual violence internationally to influence policy and service delivery
  • Promote donor and researcher involvement in supporting and undertaking research on sexual violence

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is defined as:

“any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person's sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the survivors/victims, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.”  (Jewkes, Sen & Garcia-Moreno, 2002)

Sexual violence can take place in different circumstances and settings. These include coerced sex in marriage and dating relationships, rape by strangers, systematic rape during armed conflict, sexual harassment, sexual abuse of children, sexual abuse of people with mental and physical disabilities, forced prostitution and sexual trafficking, child marriage, denial of the right to use contraception, forced abortion and violent acts against the sexual integrity of women, including female genital cutting and obligatory inspections for virginity.



Jewkes, R, Sen, P & Garcia-Moreno C, Chapter 6. Sexual Violence. In Krug EG et al., eds. World report on violence and health, Geneva, World Health Organisation (2002).