Existence of a policy on SGBV
The existence of formal governmental declarations, laws, and statutes affecting sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Policy also can refer to operational regulations, guidelines, norms, and standards (Cross, Jewell, and Hardee, 2001).
Documentation outlining the policy. Evaluators may want to disaggregate by sex.
Legislative records, administrative records, and other government documents (national, regional, and local); also, internal policy documents of an organization
The purpose of this indicator is to track changes in the policy environment that potentially affect the delivery of SGBV services and the well-being of victims of SGBV. Such changes can occur in the political arena (via formal governmental declarations and changes in legislature, which some refer to as Policy with a capital “P” or at the organizational level (in terms of the policies and procedures used within reproductive health services and by institutions that refer women to these services, such as the police, judiciary, and social services (policy with a small “p”). This indicator is a specific case of the indicator on Existence of official national/subnational or organizational policies or strategic plans that promote equitable and affordable access to high-quality reproductive health services and information presented in this database under the cross-cutting area Policy.
Experts in this field maintain that any organization dealing with SGBV should articulate a policy (small “p”) on its approach to SGBV. The organization may also take an advocacy stance and try to influence governmental policy and legislation (capital “P”), depending on its mission.
In analyzing policy-related documents on SGBV, one should further consider how the document frames the issue:
- Does the policy acknowledge SGBV as a complex and multi-determined social and health phenomenon?
- Does the policy use an integrated approach to respond to SGBV or a fragmented, single-sector approach?
- Does the policy work collaboratively with women‘s organizations that have been on the front line of the response to SGBV up until the point of a formal policy development?
Whereas the existence of a policy on SGBV signals political concern over the topic, it may be relatively meaningless if not translated into concrete actions. Any assessment of SGBV policy should examine the actual structures in place to respond to the needs of victims of SGBV, as well as the record of implementing the policy initiatives to prevent violence in the future. Thus, a related indicator involves the existence of structures to (1) provide services to those who experience SGBV and (2) undertake initiatives aimed at reducing or eliminating SGBV in the future.
policy, women’s status, empowerment, female genital cutting (FGC), violence