Experts and staff of Vanuatu Department of Women’s Affairs, the National Statistics Office, Vanuatu Women’s Centre, and representatives from various Ministries and civil society organizations joined a two-day Data literacy and capacity building workshop series for understanding and improve the collection and use of Gender-based Violence (GBV) administrative data alongside national Violence Against Women (VAW) prevalence data.

The workshop, part of a broader GBV-data capacity-building series in the Pacific region is supported by the United Nations-European Union Spotlight Initiative programme, with the help of UNFPA, UN Women, the Pacific Community (SPC), and the University of Melbourne.

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world today. Data from the 2011 Vanuatu National Survey on Women’s Lives and Family Relationships, reported lifetime intimate partner violence at 60% and 44% over the previous year, and non-partner violence measured at 33%.

According to the Vanuatu National Survey, Vanuatu has one of the highest recorded rates with 60% of women aged 15-49 experiencing physical and/or sexual violence, 68% experiencing emotional violence and 69% experiencing coercive control by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

While these figures are high, the quality of this data and the way it is collected and understood by the community using it, is pivotal to understanding and designing policies, protocols and services that respond to survivors’ needs, and help them access medical, judicial or any other type of support.

The workshop looked at how to collect, analyse and understand GBV data coming from two sources: prevalence data, data collected through surveys and national census, and administrative data, which is data collected when survivors of GBV approach a support service like the police, hospitals, women’s support services, or others. It also covered different types of VAWG, including domestic violence and intimate partner violence disaggregated data (for example age, ethnicity, location, socio-economic status, disability), and how to map vulnerability areas.

“The National Gender Equality Policy (NGEP) needs all our collaborative efforts, coordinating together to support the five strategic areas of the Policy,” said Rothina Noka, Director, Department of Women’s Affairs.

“Strategic area one addresses the elimination of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

The Government recognises that the elimination of violence and discrimination against women is an integral part of its national vision for a stable, sustainable and prosperous Vanuatu. I thank partners such as the European Union, UN Women, University of Melbourne, SPC and UNFPA for this capacity building workshop and for facilitating discussions toward building a GBV administrative data system.”

Participants were asked to look at data and data sources also as portals to strengthening inter-sectoral collaboration among service providers to ensure that GBV is addressed in a

comprehensive and sustainable manner.

“UN Women is very happy to be partnering with the Vanuatu Government and other UN Agencies, in particular UNFPA, to develop guidelines and to increase access to quality essential services for survivors of violence and gender-based violence in Vanuatu, through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls, funded primarily by the

European Union, and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand,” said Betty Toa, Country Programme Coordinator, UN Women (Vanuatu).

“This two-day capacity building workshop is an integral component of the multi-service delivery protocols to respond to gender-based violence.”

Saira Shameem, OIC and Deputy Director and Representative, concluded, “quality data is the bedrock for our collective work in ending gender-based violence. The work on ending gender-based violence is non-negotiable. It is necessary, and we cannot be effective in the work that we do without the data and more importantly, an understanding of that data.”