One in three women in Peru will likely suffer physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetimes, according to the United Nations. Violence against women is the most widespread form of violence in Peru, and it occurs across regions, income levels, education levels, and age groups. The consequences of violence against women are far-reaching, including physical and psychological wounds or even death, as well as broad social and economic costs. Violence often becomes a barrier preventing women and girls from fully participating in the social and economic life of their communities; estimates of lost productivity range as high as 3.7 percent of GDP.
In 2018, the government of Peru established an Emergence Commission to address the growing severity of gender-based violence (GBV) and to tackle this public health and human rights problem. In line with this work, the Minister of Economy and Finance requested the Bank’s support to deepen understanding of how Peru invested in the agenda to combat gender violence and to strengthen the evidence base on GBV to inform policy discussions and decision making.
The resulting Peru Gender-Based Violence (GBV) study was the first of its kind in both methodology and approach. The study created a new, one-of-a-kind database using 2018 and 2019 administrative and public investment data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance along with an extensive review of administrative and ministerial resolutions. The database was then used to analyze and gain insights into how, where, and to whom money was targeted and allocated, at both the central and the subnational levels, to address gender-based violence in Peru. Through data and literature analysis, the study: (i) explored what is known about GBV in Peru; (ii) mapped interventions aimed at combatting GBV; (iii) identified gaps in knowledge and recommendations for addressing them; and (iv) provided suggestions on how to better promote a policy dialogue around GBV. The team offered precise analysis and recommendations for GBV prevention framed in the evidence and academic knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, to capture the magnitude and pluralism of the problem, the study included a wide range of consultations with multiple stakeholders, including governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
The Peru Gender-Based Violence study found that:
- Between 2018 and 2019, Peru doubled its investment to combat GBV, but that two-thirds of this public investment went to attention and protection. These investments financed more than 100 different actions or programs, with different focuses and in different sectors, including attention services to women survivors, 50 new one-stop emergency attention centers for women, a registry of processed offenders, and training for the 1,500 staff in the Ministry of Women.
- Only 20 percent of the resources went toward prevention activities, and those were more recent and limited in scope, ranging from communication strategies at the family level to interventions to develop women’s self-esteem, agency, and economic empowerment. Most of the spending (75 percent) was directed toward adult women rather than adult males or adolescents.
- More work was needed to improve (i) prevention efforts by including children, adolescents, and men in various strategies, and (ii) the quality of care and protection for women by increasing coverage and implementing case monitoring protocols and mechanisms. Across the GBV agenda, the study found that investing in systematic monitoring and evaluation can increase the impact of the interventions and services and the efficiency of resource use.
- From the June 2019 launch of the study to February 2021, the study has already had remarkable results, some of which are highlighted below:
- The study findings helped identify the drivers and risks of GBV and led to recommendations, in line with national and international lessons, for preventing GBV and attending to survivors’ needs. In addition to addressing the human rights issue, the report also centered the economic impact of GBV.
- At the June 2019 launch of the report, Peru’s president, Martin Vizcarra, was joined by a high-level panel of key policy makers, including the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, and the Minister of Economy and Finance, giving the study high visibility and directly impacting policy making. At the event, President Vizcarra highlighted the importance of the results of the analysis and emphasized the Peruvian government’s total commitment to fighting violence against women.
- The Peruvian authorities have considered the study a key input for the design of a multisectoral strategy to maximize public spending on fighting GBV in Peru. Specifically, the activity has had an impact on the definition of the country’s first ever results-based GBV budgeting program (launched December 2019), led by a multisectoral team headed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
- Moreover, the government responded strongly to the study’s urgent emphasis on the importance of a prevention agenda in addition to previous efforts toward attention and protection. The government fully incorporated a National Prevention Strategy as a key pillar of its GBV agenda. For instance, whereas only 20 percent of the total budget for fighting violence against women had previously gone to prevention, the newly approved 2020 budget increased that percentage to 50 percent, according to the Minister of Women, who noted that the government followed the report’s recommendations in doing so.
- Finally, the report received widespread press coverage in Peru’s main print media, El Comercio and La República, and interviews were held and reported in both the written and the broadcast press, giving the findings broad reach beyond the agencies immediately involved.