Advancing public policy to combat violence against women and girls

Dr Nata Duvvury
Feb 11 2015 Posted: 10:11 GMT

New £1.5 million project to focus on economic and social costs of violence against women and girls

A new research project announced today (11 February) is to investigate the social and economic costs of violence against women and girls in developing countries. Led by Dr Nata Duvvury of the National University of Ireland Galway, and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, the project will give policy-makers ways of estimating the social and economic costs of violence to national economies.

NUI Galway will lead an international team comprising Ipsos MORI, London, UK and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), Washington DC, USA on the GBP£1.5 million, three-year project. The ambitious project will take a multi-disciplinary approach, involving experts in economics and the social sciences, including political science, sociology, gender studies, public health and psychology.

The research aims to pinpoint identifiable links between violence against women and girls (VAWG) and the economic impact this has on nations at differing stages of development. The research will be undertaken in three countries – Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan – representing fragile, conflict affected and/or low-middle income states. The project will survey over 4,500 women across those countries and will carry out in-depth interviews with survivors of VAWG.

By producing new empirical research and evidence on the economic and social costs of VAWG, the research project will strengthen the argument for resources to implement laws, provide health and social support services and to mobilize communities to shift the social norms that underpin VAWG.

The project is part of the UK Department for International Development’s investment of £25 million over five years, in a pioneering violence against women and girls Research and Innovation programme called ‘What Works to Prevent Violence’. Tackling violence against women and girls is a top priority for the UK government. This programme is driving innovation, and will generate ground-breaking new evidence, and inform new prevention programmes on the ground.

According to Dr Nata Duvvury, an established global expert in field, and Co-Director of Centre for Global Women’s Studies at the National University of Ireland Galway: “Violence against women and girls is a global issue. We need an immediate, pragmatic, informed and coherent response across nations. We understand today, more than ever before, the debilitating impact it has on individuals, families and communities. What we now need to understand are the myriad impacts of violence on the economy and society, we can then identify which interventions need to be prioritised for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole.”

Innovative economic analysis
There is growing interest to estimate the socio-economic impact of violence against women in many parts of the world. In a previous study led by Dr Duvvury, on costing domestic violence against women in Vietnam, the estimated loss of productivity, out-of-pocket expenditures, and foregone income for households came to about 3.19% of GDP. The project plans to further advance this frontier using innovative quantitative and qualitative research methods to capture economic and social costs at individual, household, community and national levels.

“The importance of the potential research findings to policy makers, practitioners, communities and families cannot be overstated. Building on this evidence is crucial to create a better understanding of the tragic consequences of violence against women and girls – not only as a gross violation of human rights, but as a global economic issue. With such evidence, we have the potential to catalyze investments into the prevention and response to violence against women,” said Stella Mukasa, Director, Gender, Violence and Rights at the International Centre for Research on Women.

The research team led by Dr Nata Duvvury at the National University of Ireland Galway includes Dr Stacey Scriver, Post-Doctoral Researcher and Project Coordinator, Global Women’s Studies, Dr Srinivas Raghavendra, Lecturer, School of Business and Economics, Sinead Ashe, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Global Women’s Studies, and Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, NUI Galway.


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