FACT SHEET: Combating Gender-based Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Combating Gender-based Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Image from USAID anti-GBV campaign "Silence Is NOT Golden"
USAID civil society project

Project Snapshot:

Total Funding:  $987,000*

Project End:  December 2018

Implementing Partner:

  BiH Gender Equality Agency

*$749,000 USAID; $238,000 (in-kind) BiH Agency for Gender Equality


The Challenge

Violence may be perpetrated against any individual, but across the world, women and girls are the populations most at risk and most severely impacted. Violence not only affects the health and well-being of these women and their children, it is a violation of human rights and a barrier to economic development. In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), gender-based violence is widespread and underreported. According to a 2013 survey of 3,300 BiH families (conducted by the BiH Gender Equality Agency), every second woman had experienced some form of gender-based violence during her adult life (after the age of 15). Legislation and strategic plans to prevent and combat GBV have been enacted at the state and entity levels of government. Progress includes the 2013 ratification of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, and adoption of key laws on women’s rights and domestic violence.

Despite the political progress and positive laws, BiH women continue to be victims of violence, while measures to protect victims are rarely used and sanctions for offenders are lenient. There is a lack of cooperation among key actors and of reliable data. Political divisions hinder the formulation of more effective measures.


Our Program

USAID is partnered with the BiH Gender Equality Agency to improve institutional services for survivors of gender-based violence and strengthen prevention efforts. It directly contributes to implementation of the Istanbul Convention and the ability of BiH to protect and provide better services to victims of GBV. The project will:

  • Harmonize the legal framework and standards on GBV throughout BiH.
  • Increase coordination of GBV prevention and response efforts among relevant agencies and other stakeholders, such as entity Gender Centers and Centers for Social Work.
  • Improve collection, analysis, and use of data and research to enhance GBV prevention and response efforts.

Implementation and Results

This project will help BiH harmonize the legal framework and standards on GBV by supporting:

  • Adoption of amendments to harmonize GBV-related legislation with the Istanbul Convention; and
  • Development of framework standards and policies for implementation for institutions that provide protection and prevention.


Activities to increase protection and prevention services will be implemented by the entity Gender Centers, as follows:

  • Improve access to the special protection and prevention services;
  • Establish a sustainable system for treatment of perpetrators; and
  • Improve the ability of the Centers for Social Work to address GBV.


The project will improve and harmonize the methods and mechanisms for data collection and reporting:

  • Provide software and hardware upgrades for data producers, including BiH Gender Equality Agency and entity Gender Centers; and
  • Design, create, and install a BiH portal on GBV and a shared electronic system for monitoring and reporting GBV, and training staff to operate the new system.