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View the documentMobilization and Political Advocacy
View the documentTraining and Education for Officials in Government Institutions and for Groups in Civil Society
View the documentResearch and Documentation
View the documentMedia and Communication Technologies
View the documentChanging Male Behaviour
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Research and Documentation

How research and documentation could support anti-violence interventions and what quidelines for these activities are needed?

I once had the chance to review a project in which it was proposed that battered women be interviewed at home with their husbands! No point was made about the safety of these women, as the researchers seemed indifferent to the possible consequences of their actions.

In the research that my colleague Maria Teresa Saltijeral have done we have tried to consider the safety of women. We asked them if they wanted to participate in the interviews, explaining our objectives, the characteristics of the interview and reassuring their anonymity. We know there is always a risk with this kind of research, but we asked if they wanted to give us their telephone numbers and we gave them ours at the Institute. Only the transcriber and I knew the real identities of these women as we used pseudonyms in every instance. We are extremely grateful to these brave women and were surprised by their openness, their desire to share their experiences with somebody.

I think that the "best practices" are derived from a real concern about the problem and recognition of our shortcomings, vulnerabilities and concern for our own safety. The welfare of the interviewers as well as the interviewees must be taken into consideration.

Luciana Ramos, Mexican Institute of Psychiatry

Part of the work the World Health Organization is doing is to build up knowledge of methodologies used to measure violence against women and its consequences, as well as risk and protective factors, which will help to identify interventions. The two main activities are: 1) a multi-country study on women's health and violence; 2) a global database on violence against women and its health consequences.

The databases are already contributing to many activities, including: collaboration with a USAID funded library service to provide full texts of documents free of charge to developing countries; furnishing data to the United States Division of Statistic's Women's Indicators and Statistics CD-ROM (Wistat), which will be the first Wistat to include data on violence against women; and contributing data and information to several advocacy documents by various NGOs as well as to numerous conferences.

If you have any information that would be useful to our database, please send it to our Global Programme on Evidence for Health Policy, WHO, 20 avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland.

Claudia Garcia Moreno, World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland

It is time to rethink the survey methods being used to investigate violence against women and to adopt new approaches that can effectively address the concerns of the victims and their relations as well as the perpetrators and other stakeholders. Researching violence against women should have an educational or awareness-raising component that will help communities being investigated to debate violence against women and to understand the reasons for and against research, and to discuss the best way to use research findings. This strategy is likely to address issues that arise due to the emotional nature of the subject and the resistance to studying violence against women encountered at different levels.

In some cultures it is useful to first discuss the study with men so they can understand the relevance of the study before researchers talk to women. At the same time, researchers and research organizations should increase collaboration and cooperation and build strong partnerships to ensure optimum use of resources, existing information and research findings. This should apply to government and NGO-based research institutions whether they are from developed or developing countries.

Lucia Kiwala, London, United Kingdom

Since the creation of the European Policy Action Centre on Violence Against Women in 1997 we have carried out the following activities:

Established a European Observatory on Violence Against Women, which is a group of experts comprised of one women expert from each of the 15 Member States of the EU (the list of experts can be obtained on request). In 1998, the Observatory was instrumental in preparing the European Women Lobby's input into the CSW at which a one-day conference was organised on violence as an issue of women's human rights.

Created a European Directory of NGOs working in the field of violence against women: one of the major obstacles facing NGOs in the different EU Member States is the difficulty of networking, although this is changing rapidly. We wanted to provide a tool for NGOs to facilitate contact, identify models of good practice and subsequently network among the different services providers with the overall aim of strengthening lobbying activities to combat violence against women in the EU and beyond.

Developed a Web page on violence against women within
the European Women's Lobby's home page:

We have begun a study on domestic violence with the aim of proposing a model on how to measure domestic violence against women in the EU. As in many countries, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that domestic violence is a major problem but there are only very few sources and statistical data available to back this up. This in turn makes it difficult to compare and to analyse the extent of the problem with the result that a major tool for policy-making in this area is missing. Our study will attempt to bridge this gap by examining existing sources of data and what criteria is used before making proposals for recommendations in relation to common criteria and indicators which could be used to measure the incidence of domestic violence in the EU. The results of the study will be presented at a European conference on the theme of domestic violence, which will take place at the end of March 1999.

Mary Collins, European Policy Action Centre on Violence
Against Women

Another useful study is "An Evaluation of the NSW Apprehended Violence Order Scheme," Lily Trimboli and Roseanne Bonney, published by NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research in 1997. The study is on the New South Wales Apprehended Violence Orders, which are protection orders designed to prevent domestic or personal violence. The study looked at whether the Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) prevented or reduced violence, whether the orders were breached, whether breaches were reported to the police and whether the police were active in dealing with the alleged breaches.

The study shows that 21,599 orders were issued in 1996, a 15-fold increase in 10 years. The majority of the persons in need of protection felt that the violence ceased or significantly decreased once they obtained an order. Of concern however, only 36% of breaches of the orders were reported to the police; the police took no action in response to 73.2% of the breaches reported to them. Ninety percent of the subjects of the study said that AVO had produced benefits and 90% said they would seek another AVO if a similar situation arose.

The address of the Bureau is: NSW Bureau of Crime and
Research, Attorney General's Department, Level 8, St James
Centre, 111 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2001, NSW Australia,

Jillian Meyers-Brittain, Sydney, Australia