Costs and impacts

The Fiji Times:

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Quantifying the costs and impacts of violence against women can influence the broad coalition of governments, private sector, development partners and NGOs to address violence against women and girls in the Pacific.

This was the view expressed by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat secretary-general Dame Meg Taylor at the Asian Development Bank's forum on gender violence held in Philippines.

Dame Meg spoke on the issue of unlocking gender based violence in the Pacific — assessing the scope, magnitude and Economic Impact of gender based violence in the Pacific.

"This is a very timely discussion, and one that I believe can build on the discussions currently taking place in New York in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The inter-relationship between women's economic empowerment and sustainable development — which is the focus of this year's CSW — is very central to the Pacific's approach to addressing gender based violence.

"Direct costs include things such as the cost of medical services to respond to the physical consequences of domestic violence, and the cost of services to provide protection to victims, such as safe-houses, and the cost of resourcing a legal system which enables enforcement of domestic violence related laws," she said.

Dame Meg said gender based violence could also result in indirect economic costs, such as the loss of productivity capacity arising from women having to take time out from earning money due to physical and emotional injury, or having to pursue legal proceedings, or make alternative living arrangements.

"Indirect economic costs also arise from the loss of productivity of men who have perpetrated violence, or are alleged to have, and who are then diverted into legal proceedings and possibly imprisonment," she said.

Dame Meg said preliminary estimates on the costs of violence against women generated for Fiji in 2011 were in the order of $F498million.

"For most Pacific island countries, this type of economic costing has not been undertaken, and so there exists a knowledge gap about the economic impacts of violence against women.

"This area remains very under-researched in the Pacific and, perhaps, an area that ADB can focus on in collaboration with the relevant regional organisations in the Pacific," said Dame Meg.

Dame Meg said the social and economic implications of violence against women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region were of course not new to the ADB, and she was aware that they had the benefit of an excellent presentation on this topic in 2012 by Justice Dame Silvia Cartwright of New Zealand.

Dame Meg said while there was still much to be done to address the issue of gender based violence in the Pacific, she believed that there now existed a strong regional platform by which to maintain momentum and pressure on this issue.

"And our regional commitments are also well supported by the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals."

Read story: The Fiji Times

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