2nd Summit of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women

On November 26, the Avon Foundation for Women, Brazil’s Avon Institute and Vital Voices hosted the 2nd Summit of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women in Brasilia, Brazil. Read the press release.

Global Partnership delegates came together to exchange best practices and advance the dialogue on violence against women and human trafficking. This platform was groundbreaking in its cross-sectoral, multi-disciplinary, and international focus that included experts on domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking. Panels and working sessions brought together the experience of criminal justice professionals, private sector stakeholders, NGO leaders and social service providers. Delegates came from nine countries (including Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, India, Jordan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and the U.S.) as practitioners and thought leaders in the struggle to end violence against women.

NGO service providers Patricia Olamendi Torres (Mexico), Sujatha Kalagadda (India) and Anastasiya Ermolaeva (Russia) were joined by moderator Jan Langbein (center right) in the panel discussion “Best Practice: Ensuring Comprehensive Victim Services.”


The Summit was opened by a conversation with Maria da Penha, an iconic survivor of domestic violence for whom the Brazilian domestic violence law was named. The Public Forum day of the Summit highlighted the international importance of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, and featured remarks by U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon, Brazilian Minister of Women’s Policy Eleonora Menicucci, Chairman and CEO of Avon Products, Inc. Sheri S. McCoy, President and CEO of Vital Voices Alyse Nelson and Avon Institute Ambassador Luiza Brunet.

Brazilian journalist Ana Paula Padrão interviewed Maria da Penha and Maria José Lopes Souza. Maria da Penha survived two murder attempts at the hands of her husband, which left her parapalegic. Her struggle to achieve justice led to the 2006 passage of a new domestic violence law in Brazil, symbolically named the Maria da Penha Law.


The diversity of the delegates allowed for sharing of best practices between many countries and sectors. Casey Gwinn, director of the National Family Justice Center in San Diego, moderated a panel on the creation of co-located service centers. Monique Altschul shared her vast experience with new media campaigns to engage Argentine youth on the issue of dating violence. Czech Police Officer Vladimir Vedra spoke on the importance of changing attitudes about domestic violence, and South African Director of Interpol, Brigadier Scott Naidoo contributed strategies about engaging men.   

Sandra Gomes de Melo is a police chief in Brasilia. She participated in the panel “Making the Law Keep its Promise: Putting Legislation into Practice” and demonstrated her mobile police unit that attends women and victims of domestic violence.


The Summit also featured hands-on activities through Brazilian delegates. Brazilian Police Chief Sandra Gomes de Melo gave a tour of her mobile police unit, an ambulance designed to give health and police services to women in vulnerable areas such as favelas. Graffiti artist Panmela Castro motivated participants to find creative ways to advocate and inform. In a highway underpass that was historically dangerous for women, Panmela and fellow artists in her network painted feminist murals to reclaim the space during a graffiti party.

Members of the Brazilian feminist urban art network, Rede Nami, painted this underpass during a graffiti party to reclaim public space. Murals spread awareness about Brazil’s Maria da Penha domestic violence law.


Working sessions on strategic planning during the final day of the Summit provided the opportunity for delegates to put the lessons learned to action. In small groups, each country delegation created a platform for action with roles for government, private and public sectors. Four $25,000 grants will be awarded to the most collaborative and innovative projects addressing the Global Partnership’s mission to end violence against women worldwide. 

Delegates listened to panels in Portguese and English. From left: Monique Altschul (Argentina), Laura Balart (Mexico), Mariana Massaccesi (Argentina), Guzel Khasanova (Russia), Mari Davtyan (Russia) and Anastasiya Ermolaeva (Russia).


Many delegates have stayed in touch and shared experiences with each other through Vital Voices training events and on their own. This second Summit together fostered these ties and delegates left inspired to use their counterparts’ successes in their own countries.

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