KWN Shares Experience Costing Domestic Violence with Arab States

On 20-21 Sep., the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) invited KWN Lead Researcher Nicole Farnsworth to share Kosovo’s experience Kosovo costing domestic violence, as part of an experts’ meeting on “Step by Step towards Costing Violence against Women in the Arab Region”, held in Beirut, Lebanon.

The meeting sought to provide best practices from an array of experts from academia, civil society, and governments from Ireland, the UK, Spain, Ukraine, Palestine, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Norway that would support the development of a handbook to guide Arab states methodologically in costing domestic violence.

After explaining the process, actors in involved, methodology, and key findings from the KWN publication At What Cost? Budgeting for the Implementation of the Legal Framework against Domestic Violence in Kosovo(UNDP, 2012), Nicole presented key lessons learned from this experience, including:

It’s a process: Changing mindsets, building capacities and putting in place systems for data collection all take time. This work requires a long-term process. One-off studies are insufficient in themselves. Costing exercises must be embedded within comprehensive, holistic approaches to improve prevention, protection, prosecution and rehabilitation services.
Institutionalized systems: Regular collection and reporting of data must be institutionalized within the regular roles, responsibilities, systems and procedures of institutions, such as within the budget process and the Standard Operating Procedures of institutions treating domestic violence cases.
Local ownership: Costing should not be carried out for but rather with responsible institutions, so that they learn how to undertake costing independently and they understand the importance of doing so as part of regular budget processes.
Engagement of local organizations and movements: In the absence of state services, in many countries women’s rights groups have provided services for persons who have suffered domestic violence for several years or even decades. They possess extensive knowledge and expertise. They should be fully engaged, and their expertise recognized and compensated. Sustained support to women’s rights groups to work on these issues over time can contribute lasting change.

She provided specific examples from KWN’s ongoing research and advocacy work related to both domestic violence and gender responsive budgeting, since 2006. This, in cooperation with other civil society actors like shelters and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network; key institutions like the Agency for Gender Equality, Victim Advocates, and Police, among other institutions, as well as international actors like UN Women, OSCE, UNDP and UNFPA, when coordinated well, have contributed to important progress in Kosovo with regard to addressing domestic violence and institutionalizing gender-responsive budgeting.