Tackling violence against women and girls through evidence-based policies

14 March 2018

UNITED NATIONS, New York — The robust collection of data and the adoption of policies based upon it can help countries successfully tackle the global scourge of violence against women and girls, speakers said yesterday at a side event to the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62).

The event, titled “Advancing Research for Policy Formulation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” was organized by UNFPA, UNICEF and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

“Data is only as significant as it is used by government officials and others to incorporate into their policy, budget and programmatic decisions and priorities,” said Melanee Verveer, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender. “Governments not only need to understand the importance of data and to fund data collection, but also to use the evidence-based research to guide more effective decisions.”

Participants in the side event emphasized how methodologically sound research and robust data collection which covers various aspects of violence against women and girls is essential to be able to monitor change over time as well as identify progress achieved and gaps that persist. Though the taboo nature of the topic makes it difficult to capture the full picture, surveys carried out with care and sound preparation can yield crucial insights into the real situation of women and girls.

Specifically, two new research efforts from Eastern Europe and Central Asia were presented at the side event. One study examined the connection between intimate partner violence and violence against children, both of which persist at high levels across the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. The research, Making the Connection Between Intimate Partner Violence and Violence Against Children in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, was carried out jointly by UNFPA and UNICEF. It identified shared drivers and risk factors for both kinds of violence, as well as overlaps in the serious consequences they have for individuals as well as societies.

“The study shows that intimate partner violence and violence against children have the same root causes and need to be addressed together to break the cycle that passes violence on from generation to generation in families,” said Nigina Abaszade, UNFPA’s Regional Technical Adviser on Gender for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

A three-year research project looking into the consequences of different forms of violence experienced by women in conflict and non-conflict settings was also announced at the side event. The Regional Survey on the Well-being and Safety of Women in South-Eastern Europe and Eastern Europe will survey 14,000 women in seven countries in the region. It is being implemented by the OSCE with funding from the EU’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), and additional contributions from member states, UNFPA and UN Women.

“Sexual and gender-based violence continues to be a major scourge in many societies and conflict regions, which is further exacerbated in conditions of humanitarian emergencies,” said Mara Marinaki, EU/EEAS Principal Advisor on Gender and on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

Participants agreed on the importance of developing multisectoral, survivor-centered policies and programming based on research data and evidence. By linking the capacities of social services, health, education and justice actors, both governmental and non-governmental, such policies can create the necessary legislative and social frameworks to protect women and children.

The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women will continue at the United Nations Headquarters in New York until 23 March.