Campaign to protect women and children against violence launched

July 05, 2022 - 16:06
The campaign, sponsored by the United Nations in Việt Nam and the Australian Government, urgently calls for public attention and support to generate violence-free environments


Participants at the campaign launch on Tuesday in Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of UNICEF Việt Nam

HÀ NỘI — The Blue Heart 2022 awareness campaign toward ending violence against children and women was launched in Hà Nội on Tuesday in the context of exacerbated risks and diversifying forms of violence.

This initiative builds on the 2020 campaign to raise public awareness and change individual and social behaviours to help stop violence before it begins.  

This campaign, sponsored by the United Nations in Việt Nam and the Australian Government, urgently calls for public attention and support to generate violence-free environments in the home, at school, in the community and online.

"This initiative urges citizens, lawmakers and governments to speak out more forcefully to fight violence. We hope to channel public outrage at acts of violence into constructive efforts to change the lives of children and women," said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative to Việt Nam.

Speaking at the launch, Elisa Fernandez Saenz, Representative of UN Women in Việt Nam, said: "Show respect to all women and children, listen to their opinions, speak out and seek or provide support when you witness violence against children and women and spread the messages of the campaign to more people."

The Việt Nam Sustainable Development Goal indicators on Children and Women Survey 2020-2021 indicated that more than 72 per cent of children aged 10-14 experienced violence.

Emotional abuse was reported by 39 per cent of such children, along with physical abuse (47 per cent), sexual abuse (20 per cent) and neglect (29 per cent).

According to the UNFPA-supported 2019 National Study on Violence against Women in Việt Nam, 62.9 per cent of women in Việt Nam experienced one or more forms of physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and controlling behaviours by their husbands in their lifetime.

Violence is hidden in Việt Nam's society, as 90.4 per cent of survivors of violence did not seek help from authorities, and half of them never told anyone about the violence.

Furthermore, violence against women costs the country 1.81 per cent of its GDP. 

"The Government of Việt Nam has made relentless efforts towards ending violence against children and women in the past years with particular attention to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people," said Nguyễn Thị Hà, vice Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

"However, this battle is still ongoing and can only be won with tremendous and joint endeavours from all members of society, organizations and responsible agencies."

The One Stop Service Centre, commonly known as Ánh Dương House (Sunshine House), provides integrated essential services to women and girls experiencing and at risk of gender-based and domestic violence.

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, are available at Ánh Dương House.

"This model is one of the tangible outcomes of UNFPA in our efforts to achieve 'zero gender-based violence and harmful practices.' We want to ensure that all women and girls in Việt Nam, including the most vulnerable, have the right to live a life free of violence and with dignity," said Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Việt Nam.

Cherie Russell, Development Counsellor of the Australian Department of Affairs and Trade, said: "Let the vibrant Blue Heart campaign reach people across Việt Nam so that people know violence is not acceptable, that bystanders to violence against children and women do not stay silent, and that services and support to break the cycle are increasing in Việt Nam." — VNS