Liberia's civil wars are often mistakenly perceived as marking the beginning of widespread violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the country. This may derive from a commonly held view that sexual violence1—more than any other single factor—epitomizes the atrocities committed throughout the 14 years of civil conflict, during which rape was widely used as a ‘weapon of war' (Omanyondo, 2005, p. 11). In reality, however, VAWG was also commonplace prior to the hostilities and is still today a serious concern in post conflict Liberia. The fact that sexual violence against females is currently one of the most frequently reported forms of violent crime in the country bears poignant testimony to the enduring widespread prevalence of this blight on Liberian society. Domestic violence2 is also believed to be endemic in Liberia, but receives less international media attention than sexual violence (Republic of Liberia, 2008a, pp. 163–164). In short, both sexual and domestic violence continue to undermine the security of women and girls in the country. According to one estimate, more than 400,000 Liberian females have suffered such abuse (Republic of Liberia, 2007, p. 230). This Issue Brief analyses VAWG in Liberia. First, it examines the extent to which women and girls in Liberia are victims of crimes and violence in general. It then focuses specifically on the patterns and characteristics of sexual and domestic violence. These latter forms of abuse, categorized as gender based violence (GBV)3 because the victims are targeted on the basis of their gender, mainly affect females. Males are also affected, but to a far lesser extent. A study of GBV in Liberia may be considered a good entry point to gaining a deeper understanding of the current overall problems of insecurity confronting women and girls in the country. In its analysis of VAWG in Liberia this Issue Brief presents the results of a nationwide household survey conducted by the Small Arms Survey, in collaboration with Action on Armed Violence and the Liberian Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, as part of the Liberia Armed Violence Assessment.4 Where necessary, the survey findings are complemented by data from other information sources, notably the Ministry of Gender and Development's (MoGD) GBV database, set up and managed with Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) support. This electronic tool serves to collect, analyse, and report on GBV cases in Liberia. Some of the data it contains is published (Republic of Liberia, n.d.). The Issue Brief also draws on unpublished data accessed by the author through the NRC.