There is increasing recognition of the pervasiveness of sexual violence across the world, yet it remains a neglected area of research. Most of the published research on sexual violence has been undertaken in a very small number of countries. If we are to prevent and respond to sexual violence effectively, more research is needed. To drive this process forward, the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) has facilitated the development of a research agenda for sexual violence. It is a first step in the process of identifying key research gaps and sharing them with researchers, funders of research, policy makers and other key stakeholders.