Specialists believe such abuse is on the increase in a country that scores well on most social issues such as education and healthcare, according to the Gender-Based Violence Forum (GBV Forum), a cb.
It observed that 60 per cent of Sri Lankan women have experienced domestic violence despite the nation's good record on education and healthcare.
"The prevalence of gender-based violence is reported to be high and widespread, cutting across class, race, ethnicity and religion," the Lene K Christiansen, the country representative for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said.
"While some positive measures to address gender-based violence through enactment of laws are in place, it remains hidden in the private domain, shrouded by a veil of silence and denial," she said at a function here to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women late last week.
The GBV Forum stated that the number of reported incidents had been increasing. "Whether this is due to increasing incidents of gender-based violence or due to efforts by many organisations to encourage women to speak out against this crime remains unclear," it said.
Nonetheless, even the increasing incidence of abuse did not indicate the true dimensions of the problem, it stated.
Security Sector Reform (SSR) is increasingly prioritized by governments, and on the agenda of international development, peace and security communities. SSR opens a window of possibility to transform security policies, institutions and programmes, creating opportunites to integrate gender issues.
The integration of gender issues is being recognised as a key to operational effectiveness, local ownership and strengthening oversight. For example, increasing the recruitment of female staff, preventing human rights violations, and collaborating with women's organisations contribute to creating an an efficient accountable and participatory security sector, which responds to the specific needs of men, women, girls and boys.
Despite the recognition of the importance of integrating gender issues in SSR, there has been a lack of resources on the topic. This toolkit is an initial response to the need for information and analysis on gender and SSR, It is designed to provide policy makers and practicioners with a practical introduction to why gender issues are important in SSR and what can be done to integrate them.
Each SSR context is unique. As such, the strategies and recommendations provided in the Toolkit may not always be directly applicable, and should always be adapted to the local context.