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Health costs of spousal violence 4.1% of GDP: Study PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 10 August 2008

Desk Report

Share of physical health costs inflicted by domestic violence against women accounts for 4.1 percent of the country's GDP, according to a study by private research organisation Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

Fahmida Khatun who authored the study report said at a seminar on Saturday they found out the average cost of a spousal violence victim at Tk 18,917.

"Components of the cost includes expenses like health care displacement, legal services fees and lost workdays," said Khatun, a senior researcher of CPD.

The study titled 'Missing Dynamics of Spousal Violence Discourse: Measuring the Economic Cost' aimed to review the type and magnitude of the direct cost of victims of spousal violence.

Women activists and NGO workers took part in the discussion presided over by CPD chairman professor Rehman Sobhan.

Women and cultural affairs adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury attended the session as the chief guest.

Swiss Ambassador in Bangladesh Dora Rapold and former adviser and human-rights activist Sultana Kamal also spoke as special guests.

The speakers agreed that awareness and a change in cultural mindset backed up by policy support were essential to stop spousal violence as it passed down on to generations.

Adviser Rasheda said there was a social acceptance for domestic violence in Bangladesh.

"Even the law enforcers discourage the victims to file a case against their husbands."

She stressed change of attitude towards domestic violence.

"We have taken initiatives to include gender equality issues in school text books in a bid to increase awareness," said the adviser.

Sultana Kamal said the study would be useful for women-rights activists to identify where they needed to work.

The Swiss ambassador cited domestic violence as a 'silent crime' and shared measures taken in her country to address the issue.
"The Swiss government maintains a zero-tolerance policy towards domestic crimes; such as domestic violence with physical injuries must be prosecuted by the state as soon as they are aware about it," said Rapold.

Professor Sobhan in his concluding speech stressed the need to recognise domestic violence as a 'criminalised activity'.

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