Australian Ambassador to Việt Nam, Robyn Mudie (sitting, left) and UNFPA Representative in Việt Nam, Naomi Kitahara (sitting, right), sign an agreement on the joint project "Supporting interventions to eliminate violence against women and children in Việt Nam under COVID-19 emergency context". — VNS Photo Hồng Minh
HÀ NỘI — A project to support ongoing efforts by the Vietnamese Government and civil society organisations to address violence against women and children in the context of COVID-19 was launched in Hà Nội on Wednesday.
The aim is to strengthen the national prevention and response mechanisms to address the issue.
The joint project, named “Supporting interventions to eliminate violence against women and children in Việt Nam under COVID-19 emergency context”, with the involvement of the Government of Australia and the United Nations agencies (UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women) in Việt Nam, also aims at ensuring that all Vietnamese women and children, including those most vulnerable, can live a life free of violence.
The scheme will receive financial support of AU$2.5 million (US$1.7 million) from the Australian Government. This is part of Australia’s AU$10.5 million contribution to support Việt Nam’s response to COVID-19.
The project will raise public awareness – among women and girls, men and boys, parents/caregivers, children and adolescents - about the increased risks of violence in the home, quarantine centers and other institutions.
Increased support for victims of violence will be delivered in four cities and provinces of Hà Nội, Quảng Ninh, Đà Nẵng and HCM City - the locations most affected by COVID-19 over the past months.
It will help ensure survivors have access to integrated and essential services. Innovative approaches will be introduced in communications and service provision work taking to account of special circumstances of COVID-19, in partnership with supermarkets, pharmacies and hotels.
It will be co-implemented by Vietnamese partners including the ministries of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; Culture, Sports and Tourism; Education and Training for the period from June 2020 to May 2021.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, job losses and enforced home isolation have caused rates of violence against women and children to soar in (many) countries around the world,” said Robyn Mudie, Australian Ambassador to Việt Nam at the project launch.
“Domestically, Australia has increased budgets to address family violence that has occurred as a result of COVID-19. Today, Australia pledges its support to the Government of Việt Nam to secure greater safety for women and children in its COVID-19 response,” she said.
According to Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Việt Nam, the Peace House Hotline 1900 969 680 (a shelter run by the Việt Nam Women’s Union) and the Sunshine Hotline 1800 1769 (as supported by UNFPA in Quảng Ninh Province in partnership with KOICA) have received twice as many calls for help over the past few months compared to period in previous years.
“It has been reported that risks of physical abuse, sexual abuse and child sexual abuse and exploitation have increased substantially,” she said, on behalf of the UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women.
Kitahara added that school closures and social distancing measures exposed children to increased isolation and to substantial protection risks, threatening their safety and ultimately – their right to grow up and learn in a safe and protected environment away from harm.
“Ending violence against women and children should be a priority for everyone. There is no way for Việt Nam to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals without addressing the issue of violence against women and children,” she said.
“It is about making sure that everyone is part of the country’s sustainable development process, leaving no one behind. We trust this new project will make a great leap forward to eliminate violence against women and girls in Việt Nam.” — VNS