VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Report on the 1999 WHO Pilot Survey in Tajikistan
In 1999, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the national non-governmental organization Open Asia conducted a study/survey on the topic of how violence affects women`s health. The overall objective of the survey was to collect accurate data on the prevalence of violence against women in Tajikistan as a first step towards drawing up a national strategy to combat the problem. The survey was carried out by a specially trained team of local experts through a questionnaire used in face-to-face interviews with 900 women and girls (aged 14-65 years) in three areas of the country: Khatlon, Leninabad and the Regions of Republican Subordination (RRS), including the capital, Dushanbe.
This survey was conducted by the WHO Regional Office for Europe with the support of the
Tajik authorities and in cooperation with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation,
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Tajikistan, the Women and Development
Bureau Tajikistan and the Tajik nongovernmental organization Open Asia. The coordination of
the survey and report by Ms Daniela Luciani, Family and Reproductive Health unit, WHO
Regional Office for Europe (WHO/EURO), is much appreciated. The study could not have been
initiated without the financial contribution of the Italian Cooperation Agency to WHO. WHO
gratefully acknowledges the contribution of its team of external consultants: Professor Annemiek
Richters, Leiden University Medical Centre; Dr Massimo Mirandola, Health Promotion and
Investment for Health Unit, WHO/EURO; Dr Mariangela Mazzi, Department of Medicine and
Public Health, Section of Psychiatry, University of Verona; Dr Yonne Mulder, Organization for
Applied Scientific Research, Leiden; Ms Muborak Sharif, Open Asia NGO, and Ms. Guissou
Jahangiri, independent consultant. Their assistance in finalizing the questionnaire and analysing
the results has been invaluable. Finally, and most importantly, WHO extends special thanks to
the team of local interviewers for their commitment and sensitivity in carrying out the survey,
and to all the Tajik women who courageously gave their testimony.
This report contains the findings of the 1999 Pilot Survey on Violence against Women in
Tajikistan, carried out by the Family and Reproductive Health unit of the WHO Regional Office
for Europe, in cooperation with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Tajikistan, the Women and Development
Bureau Tajikistan, the Tajik nongovernmental organization Open Asia and a number of external
consultants. Financial support was also received from the Italian Cooperation Agency.
The pilot survey is the first of its kind to be conducted by the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
It was developed in response to the recommendations of the Technical Meeting on Strategies to
Combat Violence against Women in the European Region, held by the WHO Regional Office for
Europe in December 1997. This Meeting called on WHO to assist Member States in obtaining
reliable estimates of the prevalence of violence against women in the Region, and proposed that
a pilot study be conducted in a country in the European Region. Tajikistan was selected from
among those countries which expressed interest in the idea. The survey was carried out in
accordance with Targets 4 and 9 of HEALTH21 (the health for all policy framework for the WHO
European Region), which aim respectively at promoting the health of young people and reducing
injuries, disability and death arising from accidents and violence, including domestic violence.
The overall objective of the survey was to collect accurate data on the prevalence of violence
against women in Tajikistan as a first step towards drawing up a national strategy to combat the
problem. The survey was carried out by a specially trained team of local experts through a
questionnaire used in face-to-face interviews with 900 women and girls (aged 14–۶۵ years) in
three areas of the country: Khatlon, Leninabad and the Regions of Republican Subordination
(RRS), including the capital, Dushanbe.
The findings were presented at a Workshop held in Dushanbe on 29–۳۰ March 2000, and point
unequivocally to the high levels of violence experienced by women in all walks of life in the
areas covered by the survey. The Workshop was attended by representatives of the Tajik
Government of Tajikistan, international organizations such as UNDP, the United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR),
in addition to WHO, local nongovernmental organizations and other experts and academics. A
wide-ranging set of recommendations for future action was drawn up, calling for information
and education campaigns, rehabilitation and support services for women victims, training of
health and other professionals, setting up of interdisciplinary task forces, child protection
measures, more research and financial assistance.
World Health Assembly Resolutions 49.25 (1996) and 50.19 (1997) define violence as a public
health problem and commit WHO to preventing violence, in particular violence against women
and children. This report and recommendations will, therefore, be circulated widely among all
relevant partners, not only in Tajikistan but also in the wider WHO European Region and even
further afield, in order to raise awareness, inspire action and thereby contribute to a
comprehensive and sustainable process of change.
Dr Viviana Mangiaterra
Family and Reproductive Health Unit
WHO Regional Office for Europe
Copenhagen, April 2000