Indicators of Violence against Women (VAW)

On 25 and 26 March 2010, Geneva Declaration Secretariat hosted an expert workshop on indicators of violence against women (VAW).

Armed violence is highly gendered in both its causes and consequences. Across all affected societies, young males are the most common perpetrators, as well as immediate victims, of armed attacks. But women suffer disproportionally from sexual and intimate-partner violence. In addition to being a serious human rights issue, violence against women (VAW) affects women’s sexual and reproductive health, as well as the health of their children and families, and exerts a considerable economic burden on already stressed state systems and social spending.

Determining the impacts of VAW requires first appropriate indicators that accurately measure the manifestation of VAW. Such indicators can increase awareness about the severity and prevalence of acts of violence against women as well as enhance understanding of community and government responses to such violence.

There are a number of proposals for VAW indicators across UN agencies, regional bodies, Government and civil society organizations. The Expert Workshop on VAW built upon this previous work undertaken by a variety of actors to capture the impact of VAW and to develop VAW indicators. It looked at methodological challenges, the state of research on the manifestation, costs and consequences of VAW, and on existing data-harvesting systems.

The Workshop critically reflected upon the challenges and opportunities for developing a methodologically robust system to track VAW across nations. Based on the discussions, a workshop synopsis will be presented that analyses how to use research and evidence for programming purposes and how to foster a systematic global, regional and national measuring and monitoring system on VAW and its impact on development that supports such programming efforts.