OSCE, UNFPA, UNICEF side event underscores need to advance research for effective policies to tackle violence against women and girls


The robust collection of data documenting violence against women and girls and the adoption of policies using the findings can help countries successfully tackle this global scourge, said speakers during a side event held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on March 13th.

The aim of the event was to present two new research efforts covering South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The discussions centred around advancing research to develop effective ways to tackle violence against women and girls.

The discussion was organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), during the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It threatens the security and safety of many women and girls and has significant short and long-term consequences on their physical and psychological well-being, health and safety.

The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender, Melanee Verveer, said: "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. 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."

The participants agreed that surveys on gender-based violence carried out with care and sound preparation can yield crucial insights into the real situation of women and girls. In regard to conflict-related violence against women, speakers stressed the importance of firmly establishing policies and institutional mechanisms aimed at strengthening gender equality and protecting women during times of peace, thereby also minimizing the risk of sexual violence in times of conflict.

The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, noted that sexual violence in conflict is the least condemned crime of war: “We cannot prevent what we do not adequately understand – hence the need for deeper research on this phenomenon and on what works to restrain the behaviour of combatants, even in the midst of war.”

One of the studies, titled “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 identifies 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 OSCE is implementing a three-year research project looking into the consequences of different forms of violence experienced by women in conflict and non-conflict settings. The research is based on a survey of 14,000 women, which will be conducted across seven OSCE participating States.

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

The 62nd session of the Commission of the Status of Women will continue until 23 March 2018.

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe