UNIFEM and VWU combating domestic violence against women
Ha Noi - The Vietnamese Women's Union and the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) convened a workshop last week (7 September 2000) in Ha Noi, to discuss with State researchers and officials from the justice system and police, the implementation of the UNIFEM-funded project, Combating domestic violence against women. UNIFEM is represented in Viet Nam by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
"Violence against women is a worldwide phenomenon," said Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of UNIFEM. "It is transcending boundaries of nationality, culture, religion and socio-economic status. Violence against women and girls in its different manifestations plagues every society, causing harmful consequences to women's physical and emotional health, and leads to loss of self-esteem. It is also a leading cause of death of women", she said.
"In Viet Nam, though activities have been carried out to combat it, domestic violence against women is still common," said Madame Nguyen Thi Oanh, Vice President of the VWU. "However, the issue has not received adequate attention in our society. Many people still believe that domestic violence against women is rare and occurs only in certain groups of the population. This project aims to raise people's awareness on the issue and mobilize joint efforts to protect women from domestic violence".
Under this project, a national level study will gather information on domestic violence against women. The findings of this study, and previous studies, will serve as a basis for the development of materials to train people on measures to combat domestic violence at the commune, district and provincial levels. The project will also launch a national information, education and communication (IEC) campaign to combat domestic violence against women.
Head of the Social Development Unit of UNDP, Dagmar Schumacher, opened the workshop with UNDP's counterparts. "As representative of UNIFEM in Viet Nam, UNDP is pleased, through this project, to forge the political will necessary to implement programmes and policies aimed at enabling every woman to possess the power and freedom to live a life free of violence. UNIFEM and UNDP would like to stress the importance of this workshop as a forum for openly discussing the issue of domestic violence from the concern of both women and men and for breaking the silence or ignorance surrounding violence against women".Participants actively discussed the scope of the study, target groups, research tools and other technical issues of research. All participants stressed the need to focus mainly on exploring concrete measures and mechanisms to combat violence against women. Besides policy development measures at the macro level, this project aims at finding ways to mobilize community-based interventions to directly prevent domestic violence and to provide instant support to victims of domestic violence.