Past Event

Improving Capacity to Address Gender-Based Violence: The Intersection of Public Health and the Law

July 23, 2019
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi, Westcom Point, 8th Fl, Block A,Mahiga Mairu Ave, Off Waiyaki Way

According to a World Bank report, GBV is arguably the most widespread of all human rights violations, a pervasive and systemic public health issue affecting all socio-economic and cultural groups throughout the world at a high cost to the individual and society. Kenya's Ministry of Health describes gender-based violence (GBV) as any violence directed against a person based on gender or sex. Such violent acts include those that cause mental, physical, and sexual harm, as well as other acts that restrict one's liberty (i.e., threats and coercion).

In Kenya, forty-five percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have experienced physical or sexual violence, though this figure is likely an underestimate. This is because, women under-report because they often know the perpetrator, have limited access to health and legal services, and because of prevailing gender norms - normalize GBV.  ICAP-Columbia University supports the Kisumu-based Gender-Based Violence Recovery Center (GBVRC) at Jaramogi Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) at Columbia University.

The GBVRC provides essential, comprehensive health services to survivors of sexual and physical violence in the Nyanza/Western Region of Kenya. These services include a legal component, provided by a paralegal.  Thus, Columbia University's Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Global Health Justice and Governance, Columbia Law School and the Mailman School of Public Health set out to research and how to address this challenge.  The study was conducted in  Kisumu to research the intersection of  GBV and what can be done to improve the capacity to address and enhance that capacity to address GBV from a legal perspective.