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Data-mining capacity boosted in tracking violence against women

Published:Wednesday | November 30, 2022 | 12:09 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica has increased the capacity of the National Statistical System (NSS) to collect, analyse, and disseminate data on violence against women and girls (VAWG). The Planning Institute of Jamaica, in collaboration with UN Women, developed a...

Jamaica has increased the capacity of the National Statistical System (NSS) to collect, analyse, and disseminate data on violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The Planning Institute of Jamaica, in collaboration with UN Women, developed a minimum dataset for the collection of data related to VAWG as well as the protocols and ethical guidelines for data collection and sharing locally.

The minimum dataset will allow for the standardisation and effective management of administrative data on VAWG and will allow for easier aggregation and national-level analysis of the data.

The project was undertaken by the Global Spotlight Initiative and funded by the European Union.

PIOJ Director General Dr Wayne Henry underscored that VAWG is a violation of human rights, and as global and national attention continues to increase, so, too, does the demand for more and better data to inform and address it.

“Fielding surveys of this nature require financial and technical commitments that may not be available to the Government at a particular point in time. Utilising administrative data is, therefore, critical in assessing the number of cases of violence against women and girls identified by service providers, the response and treatment provided, and, in some cases, the effectiveness of resources allocated and the referral mechanisms that are put in place,” said Henry.

He said further that the usefulness and relevance of the data depend on the quality and reliability of the data-collection system.

Henry was speaking at Tuesday’s opening ceremony for the Analysis and Dissemination of Violence against Women and Girls Prevalence and Administrative Data for Decision-Making Workshop.

The PIOJ executive director outlined that there are major benefits to having a minimum dataset which include identifying the number of VAWG cases or incidents reported to service providers and administrative institutions and monitoring and evaluating service use and estimation of service needs.

Henry added that improving Jamaica’s ability to use administrative data to design and implement programmes will strengthen the country’s efforts to prevent and respond to VAWG.

In his remarks, first counsellor and head of cooperation of the European Union delegation in Jamaica, Aniceto Rodríguez Ruiz, said some years ago, the data available did not reflect that Jamaica had a problem with VAWG.

“The number of cases was relatively low. There was a low rate of feminine violence and violence against women and girls in the country. Thanks to the persistence of our colleagues at UN and EU, who realised that data was needed, as it did not match the reality in the communities,” Ruiz said.

In 2016, the Government, with support from UN Women and the Inter-American Development Bank, published the country’s first prevalence survey on gender-based violence.

“It is my firm belief that evidence-based decision-making is a better method for addressing the real problems being experienced by victims of violence. Such accurate and available data, as well as training to analyse the data to make informed decisions, are imminent needs for practitioners here in Jamaica,” he added.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com