Study finds gender-based violence in Bangladesh goes unreported to police

Many women who suffer sexual and gender-based violence prefer not to seek support from police or formal institutions, a pilot study has found.

Published : 21 August 2016, 06:03 PM
Updated : 21 August 2016, 06:03 PM

Some 1,411 households who suffered from such violence were surveyed under the project. It found only 4 percent of them sought support.

Many preferred to work with informal institutions, such as Shalish or through the Union Parishad, and when they did report or seek redress from formal mechanisms, victims preferred to go to the village courts.

The study was conducted under a three-year project run by the UNDP Bangladesh, and Korea’s development agency, KOICA.

The findings, discussed on Sunday at a policy dialogue, highlighted the need to also address stigma, stereotypes and other social norms “to demystify gender based violence as a personal or domestic issue,” the UNDP said.

The role of men and boys, including how they are socialised in terms of masculinity and violence, plays a crucial role in preventing sexual and gender-based violence, it said.

The $800,000 project titled ‘Accelerating Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence’ will end this year.

KOICA said the main objective of this project was to provide services and facilities for the victims through victim response and referral support service centres connected to the national online database established in 432 unions in all divisions.

The online database consists of information on the victims, such as marital status, types of incidents, relationship between the victim and the proprietor etc.

It has been “a great success” as a total of 2,456 victims has been registered into the online database system so far, out of which 1,392 cases were followed up.

It has been “a great success” as a total of 2,456 victims has been registered into the online database system so far, out of which 1,392 cases were followed up.

The victims are now able to receive assistance by the service providers such as police, hospitals, court, BRAC legal Aid, Union Parishad through the established online database, KOICA added.

They are also securing financial aid and support from the service providers.

One of the victims shared her experience of how she had benefitted from the project.

After her marriage, the 20-year old had gone through physical abuse by her husband and was abducted by her mother-in-law. She was gang-raped and left in the garbage dump.

She was finally found by the villagers and immediately hospitalised. She said the project was helping her in every step from legal support to rehabilitation.

Secretary to the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs Nasima Begum, Executive Director of BRAC Muhammad Musa, UNDP Country Director Pauline Tamesis, and KOICA Country Director Joe Hyun-Gue were present at the dialogue, among others.

Tamesis said the project will ensure that justice is served, with better data and information, transparency and accountability, to the victims.

“It will help more women and girls to come forward with their complaints, and will help ensure that their needs are met by service providers.”

KOICA’s Hyun-Gue said they were glad that the project, co-funded by Korea, helped to create an “effective linkage” between the victims and the service providers.