More than 1 billion women lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence – WB study

Washington, US (PANA) - More than one billion women lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence, says a new research from the World Bank.

The study, ‘Global and Regional Trends in Legal Protection Against Gender-based Violence’, released on Thursday, also found that close to 1.4 billion women lack legal protection against domestic economic violence.

“Economic abuse entails controlling a woman’s ability to access economic resources (money, education or employment) as a form of intimidation and coercion. In addition, women are often not legally protected against specific types of sexual harassment outside the home, such as at work, school, and in public places,” said the report.

“Violence leads to negative and, at times, dramatic mental and physical health consequences. It leads to increased absenteeism at work and limits mobility, thereby reducing productivity and earnings. It leads girls to drop out of school because going to school puts them at risk of abuse. It affects women’s decision-making ability within the household, including being able to seek services when needed.”

According to Quentin Wodon, World Bank lead economist and co-author of the study, “Gender-based violence is a global epidemic that endangers the life of women and girls with a wide range of negative consequences not only for them, but also for their children and communities.”

The elimination by 2030 of all forms of violence against women and girls, and of all harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation, are two of the targets adopted under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“Laws against gender-based violence are an important first step to protect women, yet legal protection remains weak in many countries,” said Paula Tavares, World Bank legal gender specialist and co-author of the research.

The report, supported by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Global Partnership for Education, examined laws against domestic violence and sexual harassment across 141 countries covered by the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law programme.

Based on an analysis of 141 countries, the share of countries with laws to protect women against domestic violence increased from 71 percent to 76 percent between 2013 and 2017. But legal protection remains much weaker for specific types of domestic violence.

For sexual violence experienced at home at the hand of an intimate partner or family member, the study found that laws are lacking in more than one in three countries. For domestic economic violence, half of the countries do not have specific legislation. For two in three countries, unmarried intimate partners are not protected under the laws.

When it comes to sexual harassment outside the home, the study found four in five countries had laws, but again these laws often do not cover all forms of harassment, such as sexual harassment in the workplace, in schools and on the streets.

One in five countries do not have appropriate laws against sexual harassment in employment. The proportion is six in 10 countries for sexual harassment in education, and four in five countries for sexual harassment in public spaces.

The research on legal protection against domestic violence and sexual harassment is part of a larger programme at the World Bank on gender-based violence. In June 2017, the World Bank released estimates of the economic costs of child marriage, another form of gender-based violence.

The research suggested, among other findings, that delaying marriage and investing in girls’ education could reduce the risks of intimate partner violence for women.

Addressing GBV is now part of a number of projects at the World Bank in more than a dozen countries working through various sectors such as transport and social protection. In addition, in 2017, the World Bank announced a set of innovation grants, totaling US$3.4 million over five years, designed to better prevent and respond to GBV.
-0- PANA AR 1Feb2018

01 février 2018 19:06:27

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