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Development and Validation of the Lovi: The Laws on Violence Against Women and Girls Index
34 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2018More...
Background: Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a human-rights violation with adverse long-term and inter-generational consequences. Redefining VAWG as legally unacceptable is one strategy for social change. The co-occurrence of national laws against VAWG is understudied, and tools to monitor the national legal environment are lacking. We developed the Laws on Violence against Women and Girls Index (LoVI) to measure comprehensive legislation against child marriage, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and marital rape. 'Comprehensive' required the presence of legislation with definitions for each type of VAWG.
Methods: Using data from 2016 and 2018 for 189 countries in the World Bank Women, Business, and the Law database, we performed exploratory and then confirmatory factor analyses to assess the LoVI as a unidimensional construct. We examined the distribution of the LoVI across countries, regions, and income levels and the relationship of national rankings on the LoVI with those for other indicators.
Findings: A single LoVI factor showed good model fit (CFA: loadings 0·39-0·79, RMSEA=0·01, CFI=1·00, TLI=1·00). On national rankings, the LoVI was positively associated with indicators for gender equality in human development and economic rights, and negatively associated with rates of justifying wife beating and of lifetime and prior-year IPV (especially among lower and higher ranking countries). The LoVI was not associated with national indicators of human development and income inequality.
Interpretation: The LoVI is a concise, coherent, validated index to monitor the progress of nations on adopting comprehensive legislation to advance 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 5, to eliminate VAWG.
Funding: This article is an output of research grant 005-2-RREF1 (PI Kathryn Yount) of the GAGE programme, which is funded by UK Aid from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The views expressed and information contained within are not necessarily those of or endorsed by the GAGE programme or DFID, which accepts no responsibility for such views or information or for any reliance placed on them.
Declaration of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.
Keywords: national laws, child marriage, domestic violence, marital rape, sexual harassment, global, index, violence against women and girls
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