Ha Noi, 21 November 2012 – The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism and the United Nations in Viet Nam co-organized a policy dialogue in Ha Noi today on “Multi-sectoral coordination on domestic violence prevention and control" to commemorate the 2012 International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, observed each year on 25 November.
The policy dialogue brought together more than 100 participants, who are policy makers, national experts from Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Justice (MOJ); Ministry of Education and Training (MOET); Parliamentary Committee for Social Affairs (PCSA); the Viet Nam Women’s Union; the Youth Union, the Fatherland Front, UN agencies in Viet Nam; the World Bank; bilateral and other multilateral donors, research institutes, NGOs and the media.
Addressing the event, Mr, Huynh Vinh Ai, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism stressed that domestic violence against women is considered as a violation of human dignity, as well as a violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which Viet Nam was one of first countries to sign. As the state management agency responsible for domestic violence prevention and control, MOCST has coordinated with other ministries and government agencies in providing guidance and implementing activities in order to put the laws and policies on domestic violence into practice. This has achieved some positive results. "In the coming time, MOCST will continue to strengthen multi-sectoral coordination mechanism, mobilizing more active participation from international and national organizations and establishing a network on domestic violence prevention and control at the national level," said Mr. Ai.
The national study on domestic violence against women released in 2010 by GSO and supported by the UN shows that one in three, or 34 per cent, of ever-married women report that they have suffered physical or sexual violence from their husbands at some time in their lives. This research marked a big step forward in our understanding of the issue and our collective efforts to end domestic violence in Viet Nam and strengthen the services and support to those women affected by it.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Yuriko Shoji, UN Resident Coordinator a.i in Viet Nam congratulated the Government for its efforts to address the problem. "It is very important to have a multi-sectoral coordination mechanism in place as well as a corresponding planning, monitoring and evaluation framework. This will help to translate the national laws and legislation into actions, so that we can ensure that all those who suffer from domestic violence have access to quality health care, safety and protection services, as well as effective legal services," said Ms. Shoji.
During the event, a research team from the National University of Ireland, Galway and the Institute for Family and Gender Studies, with support from the UN Women in Viet Nam, presented key findings of the study on the economic impacts of domestic violence against women in Viet Nam. Data from the study shows that the economic repercussions of domestic violence can be felt at both the household and macro-economic level. Women and families that experience domestic violence for instance incur costs when they access services such as medical treatment, and legal and counselling support and they also experience lost earnings due to their low productivity and absence from work.
Besides, participants were provided with very comprehensive presentations from the PCSA, MOJ, MOH on how they work in addressing this issue. A model of multi-sectoral coordination in response to domestic violence at provincial level was shared at the event by the Department of Health of Ben Tre province. These valuable information, experiences and lessons learnt provided a solid foundation to improve the coordination among different stakeholders to effectively address violence against women and girls.
Ms. Mandeep K. O'Brien, UNFPA Representative a.i in Viet Nam said that the cost of no action is very high, both economic and social costs. Domestic violence, as a part of gender-based violence, must be integrated in our work on promoting gender equality. On behalf of the UN in Viet Nam, she emphasized the importance of developing a network of key stakeholders including government ministries, international and national development partners, mass organizations under the leadership of the MOCST in eliminating violence against women and girls in Viet Nam. She also said that it is important to develop a guidance for greater multi-sectoral coordination among all stakeholders working to prevent and address domestic violence at national and sub-national levels. For a multi-sectoral coordination mechanism to be functional, a minimum intervention package must be in place to address domestic violence as a part of gender-based violence. Prevention is key and the participation of men and boys in prevention of domestic violence is fundamental to a coordinated national response to domestic violence.
Mr. Franz Jenssen, EU Ambassador in Viet Nam confirmed the EU commitment to gender equality and sustainable development in Viet Nam, as well as to work in partnership and encourage the government to continue advancing gender equality and to create favourable conditions to turn into reality the gender equality laws already in place.
The policy dialogue was part of a series of events taking place throughout November as part of the global UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world by 2015. Leaders of the MOCST, PCSA and the UN in Viet Nam joined efforts with leaders from around the world to commit to protecting women and preventing this human right violation by writing down a pledge to take action to end violence against women and girls in Viet Nam.