Aník Gevers, Elizabeth Dartnall, Alessandra Guedes, and Claudia García-Moreno
(8 April 2021) There is growing global recognition of the intersections between violence against women and violence against children. Unfortunately, there is insufficient interaction between these fields and evidence on how interventions should respond is limited. It is vital to identify key knowledge gaps in order to build evidence to address both forms of violence, through prevention and response programming, to achieve the best outcomes for both women and children.
To address this need, the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI), UNICEF Innocenti, and the Special Programme on Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP) hosted by WHO are joining efforts to develop a global research agenda on the intersections between violence against women and violence against children. The new research agenda will advance the field in a more systematic way, ensure that research efforts make the best use of limited resources, and serve to monitor the field over time. It will also inform the implementation of the multiagency RESPECT Women and INSPIRE frameworks, support UNICEF’s commitment to respond to the gender dimensions of violence, SVRI Grant-making and promote coherence in the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Historically, research agendas have been largely driven by researchers with limited input from other stakeholders. To promote participation and minimize the risks of bias, we are proposing to adapt the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative method and use online surveys and meetings to reach a wide group of stakeholders. SVRI, UNICEF Innocenti and WHO/HRP together make up the Coordinating Group which will implement this effort. An Advisory Group will help develop the framework and provide technical input and guidance throughout the process. Finally, a broad group of Global Stakeholders – including researchers, advocates, policy-makers, and practitioners representing different countries, settings, disciplines and areas of focus – will provide inputs and promote dissemination and implementation of the final research agenda widely.
The initiative will build on lessons learned through collaboration with the Global Shared Research Agenda on Violence against Women and Girls, led by SVRI and the Equality Institute, with participation of UNICEF Innocenti and the WHO, among others. Close collaboration among these processes will promote complementarity of the initiatives.
A stepwise approach to identifying research priorities for the intersections of violence against women and violence against children involves five broad phases:
In partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Gender Violence and Health Centre, two systematic reviews are underway that will identify research gaps in the published literature. These reviews focus on: The co-occurrence of intimate partner violence and child maltreatment: a systematic review of the common contributing factors and on interventions that address both child maltreatment and intimate partner violence in a coordinated way. In addition, other relevant systematic reviews will be identified.
The Coordinating and Advisory groups will develop a framework to guide a prioritisation process. Global Stakeholders will be invited to rank research priorities and provide additional inputs. The outcomes of these processes will be collated and analysed to identify research questions deemed to be of priority by the field. The Advisory Group will provide oversight of the analysis and results before they are widely disseminated, including through Global Stakeholder network.
Moving forward together
Researchers, practitioners, activists and donors from both the violence against women and violence against children fields are recognizing that collaboration and increased coherence in programming are essential to meet women’s, adolescents’, and children’s needs, as well as to maximise synergies. Therefore, rather than focusing on research priorities for women or children separately, this initiative will specifically target gaps in knowledge on the intersections between these different but related forms of violence.
A consultative, inclusive process among violence against women and violence against children stakeholders will identify areas where research can enhance coordination, alignment and consistency. The process, as much as the outcomes, will help strengthen both fields and build bridges for the benefit of children and women everywhere.
If you would like to join the Global Stakeholders, please sign up and we will include you in the database. All are welcome.
For more information about this research priority setting process, please contact Anik Gevers (SVRI) at firstname.lastname@example.org