What is violence?

Key messages on gender-based violence

What is violence?

Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, or psychological harm. Although most of the survivors of violence are girls and women, boys and men can also be targeted through violence.

There are several forms of violence that can occur, such as physical and sexual violence, emotional or psychological violence, socio-economic violence (which includes the situation such as not allowing others to work, seizing income, forcing others to work without being paid for that work, etc.), and domestic violence.


If you or someone you know is exposed to or at risk of violence, please do not hesitate to seek help. Remember you are not alone, and help is available.

There is support available, including health support, psycho-social support, and legal assistance, if required. You should not feel ashamed to seek any of this support.

Remember that all information you provide will be treated as strictly confidential and will not be shared with anyone without your consent.

You have the right to express your preference to talk with either a female or a male staff from UNHCR.

  • Be supportive: Keep yourself, your family, and your community informed and protected.
  • Say No to any form of violence – including physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or economic violence.
  • Nothing can be an excuse for violence against women.
  • Men and boys can also be survivors of violence. If you feel hurt, threatened, or harassed, you should not feel ashamed to seek support.

For more information on the services that UNHCR provides, please click here.

You can seek help confidentially by calling available hotlines or, if urgent, coming in person to the UNHCR office. To see the phone number and address of each office, please click here.