Sustaining one stop service centers to support gender-based and domestic violence survivors in Vietnam

Appropriate policies and guidelines are needed to facilitate the development and replication of the UNFPA-supported one stop service centers, which are known in Vietnam as Anh Duong House, to other provinces and cities across the country.

The workshop, which was held in Hanoi on May 25, discussed mechanismto replicate and sustain the Anh Duong House nationwide. (Nguồn: UNFPA)

It is to reach out more and more women and girls, who are experiencing and/or at risk of gender-based and domestic violence.

This is one of the conclusions of the workshopco-chair by Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and Ms. Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative for Vietnam. The workshop, which was held in Hanoi on May 25, discussed mechanismto replicate and sustain the Anh Duong House nationwide.

The workshop was part of the UNFPA Bridge Phase Project “The Follow-up Activities of Building a Model to Respond to Violence against Women and Girls in Vietnam, July 2022-June 2023,” which is funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The Project aims to ensure the sustainability of the innovative one stop service centermodel or the “Anh Duong House” in Vietnam.

In her opening remarks, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Ha highly valued the effective operation of the OSSC model introduced by UNFPA.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha stressed: “Over the past years, Vietnam has always been determined to apply any possible solutions to promote gender equality and to prevent and control gender-based violence against women and girls. Today’s discussion on the replication of the UNFPA-supported One Stop Service Centre model to other localities is a manifestation of the Government’s efforts to support GBV survivors by providing essential and integrated support services, taking GBV survivor-centred approach, thus contributing to addressing GBV in Vietnam. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to develop a multi-sectoral coordination mechanism.”

The first ever Anh Duong House was established in Quang Ninh in April 2020 through the KOICA-funded project “Building a model to respond to violence against women and girls in Vietnam", for the period of 2017-2021 with the total budget of 2.5 million USD.

In 2022, three more Anh Duong Houses were opened in Thanh Hoa province, Danang city and HCM City with financial support from the Government of Japan. The operatonal costs are thereafter covered through funding from the Government of Australia.

The Anh Duong House provides essential, comprehensive, and integrated services to women and girls who are experiencing and/or at risk of gender-based and domestic violence. It provides a wide range of services, meeting international standards, including health care, psychological support, counselling, social welfare services, emergency shelters, police protection, legal and justice services, and referrals. All services provided at the OSSC are based on the survivor-centred principle, in which survivors are treated with respect and dignity, and assured of privacy and confidentiality.

Mr. Cho Han Deog, Country Director of KOICA Vietnam emphasized that KOICA sees gender equality as an integrated component of its ODA programmes and projects. KOICA, UNFPA and the Vietnamese Government implemented and successfully completed a project for building a model to respond to violence against women and girls in Vietnam from 2016 to 2020. Under the framework of the project, the first one stop service centre - Anh Duong House was set up in Quang Ninh province in 2020 to deliver the integrated support to GBV victims in Vietnam.

"Since the model has been effectively contributing to bringing hope to the GBV victims, KOICA is willing to invest 5 million USD more to replicate the model in Ha Tinh and KhanhHoa provinces in the coming years,” he said.

Representatives from the four Anh Duong Houses reported that service providers at the OSSCs have to work very hard in order to meet the high demands of local people, especially women and girls. As of now, four Anh Duong Houses have directly supported over 60 GBV survivors at the houses and nearly 1,100 GBV survivors in the community. Particularly, the hotline of these houses has received and provided consultations and support to more than 20,000 calls from survivors of violence.

Gender-based violence is a manifestation of gender inequality which is deeply rooted in Viet Nam. According to the UNFPA-supported national study conducted in 2019 on violence against women, nearly 2 in 3 women aged 15-64 experienced at least one form of physical, sexual, psychological and/or economic violence in their life time.

Gender-based violence is very much hidden in society, when more than 90% did not seek any help from public services, and half of the women who experienced violence told no one about it. It is costing Viet Nam 1.81% of GDP, which is significant.

The innovative One Stop Service Centermodel or the “Anh Duong House” in Vietnam. (Photo: Thu Trang)

Ms Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative for Vietnam, told the workshop that the introduction of the OSSC model aims to detect, prevent, and support survivors of violence.

Ms. Naomi Kitahara confirmed that despite the efficient operation of the four Anh Duong Houses, the demands are so high in terms of supporting GBV survivors. UNFPA, therefore, calls for the expansion and the replication of this safe and reliable facility to other provinces and cities in the country.

"In Vietnam, UNFPA wants to ensure that all women and girls in Vietnam, including those most vulnerable, have the right to live a life free of violence and with dignity. We are not leaving women and girls behind in the efforts of achieving SDGs by 2030”, she added.

Participants to the workshop highlighted that to replicate the Anh Duong House to other localities, it is necessary to develop policies and detailed guidelines on the standards of the OSSC model and ensure the quality of support services provided. Such policies and guidelines also aim tofurther enhance the multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms among relevant departments and agencies at both national and local levels.

More support from the State management agencies and a regular allocation of budgets from the Government and from local authorities are also important to ensure the sustainability of the OSSC model. However, other organisations, individuals and the private sector have to be mobilsied for financial, technical, and human resourcesin providing essential services to support GBV survivors.

The workshop agreed that the replication of the OSSC model is entirely in line with Vietnam’s National Programme on GBV Prevention and Response 2021-2025 and the amended Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control, which was adopted by the National Assembly in November 2022, which highlight the need to establish effective models and facilities to prevent domestic violence and to support GBV survivors.