Addressing gender-based violence through social protection: a scoping review

Development practitioners are searching for novel ways to address gender-based violence (GBV) in the wake of what the UN Secretary General termed a “shadow pandemic” of violence against women (VAW). Social protection systems, which are oriented towards preventing poverty and improving quality of life, contain a wide range of policy tools with potential for addressing GBV, yet their application has been largely underexplored. This paper brings the fields of social protection and GBV together through a comprehensive scoping review and presentation of the “state of the evidence”. The paper moves beyond a focus on standalone programs to synthesise findings on the cross-cutting mechanisms by which the policies, programs, and administrative features of social protection systems can be leveraged to address violence against women in particular. The paper contributes to scholarship and practice by identifying promising entry points and design factors, as well as future directions for an actionable research agenda at the nexus of social protection and GBV prevention and response.