- Publication date
- 24 September 2021
The seminar, which took place on 7-8 July 2021, was an opportunity to discuss methodologies, good practices and challenges in conducting research on the costs of violence against women. It reviewed how research methodologies could be replicated in other Member States and collaboration built. Hosted by Finland, 16 Member States participated in the seminar.
The Finnish government has a strong and forward-looking commitment to addressing gender-based violence. In 2021, the government provided funding for research studies to assess the costs of gender-based and domestic violence to inform proposed reforms of health and social services. There have been two previous studies on the costs of gender-based violence in Finland conducted in 1998 and 2001 and three on-going studies. Methodologies have included victims’ surveys, administrative data from health registers and other services, longitudinal surveys to compare service use by victims before and after identification and to compare victims and non-victims. Some research has used a ‘hybrid’ methodology combining both surveys and administrative data. The main challenges were reviewed, including the identification of victims due to under-reporting, and the assessment of both direct and indirect costs, such as productivity losses, quality of life and inter-generational impacts.
In the seminar’s discussions, participants reviewed how best to identify victims of violence and create comparators in order to assess service costs for victims and non-victims. National legal definitions of victims vary considerably which is also a challenge. Participants stressed the importance of assessing the intangible costs, such as mental health impacts and the impact on children and other family members, and debated whether costs related to perpetrators should be included as well. On the other hand, participants also noted that research needs to be pragmatic and strike a balance between costs of research and the value of the results, recognising there is no gold standard methodology. Participants also called for further networking opportunities to build upon existing expertise and to facilitate new ideas on research and policy.