Anh Duong House provides essential cares for vulnerable women
The “Anh Duong” (Sunshine) House Shelter's signboard with hotline number. Photo: UNFPA
An official visit led by the representatives from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to “Anh Duong” (Sunshine) House - a shelter of supporting essential services to victims of violence against women and girls was made on October 20 in Quang Ninh province.
The delegation was chaired by Le Khanh Luong, Vice Director & Officer-In-Charge of Gender Equality Department under MOLISA; Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative; and Cho Han-Deog, Country Director of KOICA Viet Nam.
Despite many efforts, gender-based violence (GBV) is still a problem everywhere, every day including Vietnam, and remains to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world today. It is estimated that one in three women globally experience violence over their lifetimes. Now, the COVID-19 outbreak may be exacerbating the problem.
The national study on violence against women in 2019 showed that nearly two in three married women (almost 63 per cent) have experienced one or more forms of physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and controlling behaviours by their husbands in their lifetime, and almost 32 per cent in the last 12 months.
Violence against women remains very much hidden. Half of women who experienced violence by husbands had never told anyone. Almost all women (90.4 per cent) who experienced physical and/or sexual violence from husbands did not seek any help from formal service providers.
Violence against women has serious consequences on economic development, as well as physical and mental health. It is costing Vietnam’s national economy the equivalent of 1.8 per cent of GDP.
Data from Quang Ninh province shows that between 2016-2018, there were 555 cases of gender-based violence reported, and women victims constituted 81 per cent. In particular, there were emotional violence (65.2 per cent), physical violence (29 per cent), sexual violence (2.3 per cent), and economic violence (9.5 per cent). The large majority (76.3 per cent) of victims were in the age group 16-59 years.
In times of crisis such as the COVID-19 outbreak, women and girls may be at higher risk of intimate partner violence and other different forms of violence caused by other members of the family, due to confined environment at home for a prolonged period of time, restrictions of movement, and heightened stress and tensions in the household. Other forms of GBV may also permeate including sexual exploitation and abuse in these situations. In some countries, the number of women calling for help has doubled. In Vietnam, GBV service providers have also observed increases of calls over the past months.
“We believe that every woman and girl has the right to live in a Gender-Based Violence free environment. The project’s activities including the establishment of one coordination mechanism to facilitate inter-institutional support essential services will bring about efficient, professional, gender-sensitive and tailored assistance to GBV victims,” said Cho Han-Deog, Country Director of KOICA Vietnam Office.
“UNFPA is committed to continuing our support to the Government of Vietnam and other partners to end gender-based violence and achieve gender equality in Vietnam. I call on everyone to join forces to make sure that women and girls can live a life free of violence, have equal access to opportunities and resources, exercise their leadership, and participate fully in the country’s process to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Together, we can work towards a world where both men and women, and boys and girls, can enjoy life with dignity,” said Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam.
Delegates take a look around Anh Duong House Shelter. Photo: UNFPA
The “Anh Duong” House Shelter has been managed by the Quang Ninh Provincial Social Work Centre, under Quang Ninh Provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, with technical and financial supports from UNFPA and KOICA.
According to Le Khanh Luong, Vice Director of Gender Equality Department, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Anh Duong House Shelter is one of 18 support essential services providers to GBV survivors in response to gender-based violence, which is currently under pilot implementation by the Gender Equality Department. It is necessary to open the shelters for victims of gender-based violence like Anh Duong House – a safe space for women victims, which can provide timely, integrated and quality essential services and care. Survivors of victims can receive health and physical care, mental and psychological support, other support to ensure safety, and legal aids.
The toll free hotline 1800 1769 is operational to receive information on incidents of GBV for urgent response and online counselling on matters of GBV.
Regarding the operation results of the Anh Duong House in Quang Ninh, Do Anh Hoa, Deputy Head of Quang Ninh province’s Social Work Center said, there were 1,231 phone calls through the toll free call hotline for consultation, of which 164 were related to gender equality; three cases of gender-based violence have been consulted via fanpage. Many cases came to the shelter house, are helped and consulted.
The staff is available 24 hours a day. They have necessary skills to deal with sensitive gender-based violence related information, and any survivors of gender-based violence when in need of support shall be welcomed, and they are provided with timely and personal care and follow-up actions to find solutions against the violence. Essential services provided at the Sunshine House will follow a victim-centered approach which GBV victims’ needs are met with respect, sympathy, impartiality and confidentiality
In the afternoon of the same day, the delegation attended the media event "Men join hands to end sexual harassment at workplace" with the participation of 90 men from Hon Gai Coal Company (Quang Ninh). The event aims to raise men's awareness about prevention of gender violence.