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close this bookViolence against Women (WB)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentInformation
View the documentForeword
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentAbstract
View the document1. introduction
View the document2. The scope and evolution of the problem
View the document3. A primer on violence against women
View the document4. health consequences of gender-based violence
View the document5. Implications of gender violence for health and development
View the document6. Steps toward eliminating violence against women
View the document7. Research needs
View the document8. Conclusions
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix
View the documentNotes
View the documentBibliography

7. Research needs

Box 9 Priority research needs on gender-based violence and health

· Better data on the incidence and prevalence of gender-related violence in representative populations of women.

· Data on the percentage of women presenting in different settings (emergency rooms, family planning clinics) who have been raped or abused, or both. (Such data should help convince health care providers of the prevalence of abuse as well as help assess the potential of different settings as points of identification and referral for victims.)

· Data on the health care and social costs of domestic violence and sexual assault and abuse, including estimates of the cost of emergency services, indirect costs of productivity losses, and costs associated with increased utilization of primary care services.

· Descriptive profiles of the typical symptoms of rape and abuse victims (location of injuries, somatic complaints) to facilitate identification of victims by health care providers.

· Data on the mental health consequences of violence, especially in a developing world context, including relative risk among victimized and non-victimized women for anxiety, depression, suicide attempts, sexual dysfunction, somatic health complaints, and alcohol and drug abuse.

· Data on the impact of domestic violence and sexual assault on birth outcomes, pregnancy complications, and rates of miscarriage and low birth weight.

· Studies that analyze the relation between gender violence and such development issues as safe motherhood, child survival, AIDS prevention, and family planning.

· Studies that evaluate the effectiveness of different interventions, including self-help support groups, violence prevention curricula, and screening for abuse at primary care facilities.

This review has revealed that, although existing data are sufficient to capture the severity of violence against women around the world, more and better research is needed to spur political action in specific countries, to refine our understanding of the consequences of gender violence, and to evaluate the effectiveness of different interventions (see box 9 for the most important data needs). Well-designed studies of the prevalence of wife abuse are beginning to emerge, but there is still a large need in the developing countries for population-based data on the prevalence of sexual assault and child sexual abuse, and for studies of the mental and physical health consequences of gender-based violence. In addition, we need to begin collecting qualitative data on how women experience violence: How does physical abuse affect women's productivity? What strategies do women use to cope with abuse? How do different women define violence?

As a first step toward meeting these needs, institutions such as the World Bank could create forums) for researchers to come together with practitioners and advocates-at both the national and the international level-to develop a joint research agenda and discuss outstanding methodological issues. Creating a dialogue up front between those familiar with the issues (shelter workers, advocates) and those who understand research will help ensure that future research is both relevant and defensible. Too often, research pursued by academics ash the wrong and research pursued by practitioners lacks rigor.

Future progress in research on violence would benefit greatly from:

· Better-articulated definitions of rape, child sexual abuse, and other forma of gender violence to facilitate measurement and comparisons across populations

· Greater consensus on operational definitions of different forms of violence for the purposes of research

· More research on which methodologies elicit the most disclosure on violence-related topics

· Increased collaboration between researchers and women's NGOs, service providers, and victims of violence

· Greater emphasis on evaluating the effect of different interventions.


There are also many unexploited opportunities for integrating questions related to violence into research funded for other purposes, such. as focus groups and surveys designed Lo inform AIDS prevention work, or surveys conducted for family planning or health purposes. . An improved Demographic and Health Survey module on violence and application of the instrument in a large number of countries, for example, court generate invaluable information. In addition, multicountry studies are urgently needed to explore how women and men interpret violence, its causes and correlates, ant the attitudinal and legal barriers victims face when interacting with public institutions.