CAHRV focuses on all forms of interpersonal violence, centers them conceptually and strategically within a human rights discourse, and aims to integrate relevant strands of research. This integration requires collaborative work across multiple disciplines and languages. It becomes more pressing for European research as the growing political and economic integration of Europe calls for data and theory that are valid across linguistic and national borders. Mindful of these challenges, CAHRV aims to bring into clearer relief European approaches that can inform practice and policy across the continent.
Discussing interpersonal violence in terms of human rights violations was accelerated significantly during the 1995 Beijing conference where women's advocates successfully argued for recognizing the multiple forms of violence against women as major human rights violations. Since then, international actors such as the U.N., the WHO, the Council of Europe, and the European Union have stepped up their efforts to sponsor research on violence against women and issue recommendations on intervention and prevention strategies, which are often framed in terms of human rights violations.Nonetheless, recognition is slow of the full extent to which not only violence against women, but also violence against children, against men, against the elderly does, indeed, violate human rights in multiple and significant ways. Continuing to dominate human rights discourses are war crimes and torture as violations typically attributed to state actors and located in public contexts. In contrast, violations of women and children-often attributed to individual actors in private contexts-seem to need special reminders to remain on the human rights agenda (such as references to the "human rights of women" and the "rights of the child"). The gendered dimensions of human rights and their violations are often overlooked. Connections between human rights and gender justice are underdeveloped, as are connections between violence and other human rights such as the right of access to social participation, to personal dignity, to social support and health care.
While the pertinent literature has burgeoned over the past years many research efforts currently are fragmented and unevenly distributed. In an effort to cut conceptual and empirical paths through the wide realm under scrutiny CAHRV is structured into four thematic areas: identifying and profiling victimization, analysing the roots of interpersonal violence, intervening with gender-based human rights violations, and identifying protective factors.