Designing and implementing programmes that seek to respond to, and prevent, violence against women and girls (VAWG) saves lives and mitigates the consequences of such violence for survivors. With the right evidence about the scale and nature of VAWG, practitioners, donors, and policymakers can improve programming, support VAWG services where they are needed, and develop policies to address VAWG. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a leading international non-government organisation (NGO) with VAWG programmes in over 18 countries worldwide, and it is one of the only NGOs with a dedicated technical unit on women’s protection and empowerment. It has over ten years of experience in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country where reports of pervasive acts of violence against women and girls have attracted significant international attention. With a strong emphasis on evidence-based and evidence-generating programming, the IRC carefully collects VAWG data as part of the services provided to up to 3,000 VAWG survivors per year in the DRC. In this paper, the IRC shares its experience on VAWG data, and how this information can be interpreted as well as how it is often misinterpreted.
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