A training workshop on preventing domestic violence opened in Hanoi on April 2 for staff of the Centre for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender – Families – Women and Adolescents (CSAGA), who will disseminate the knowledge across the country.
The five-day workshop is part of a Swedish-sponsored project on encouraging men to participate in the prevention of domestic violence in Vietnam.
Addressing the first working day, Elsa Hastad, Deputy Head of Development Cooperation and Coordinator for Democracy and Human Rights of the Swedish Embassy, praised Vietnam’s legal mechanism in the area, which was marked by the adoption of the Law on Domestic Violence in 2007.
“The Vietnamese legislation is quite far developed,” Hastad said. “Although it is quite new, about two years now, it actually criminalises physical abuse and psychological abuse, which was not in place before and that is quite a good piece of legislation.”
However, she said legislation is not enough to root out domestic violence. To do so, she emphasised, there must be a concerted effort among agencies from multiple branches of government, from the legislative to the executive.
More needs to be done to improve public awareness, especially among children, through, for example, incorporating the teaching of gender equality into school curricula at the kindergarten or primary levels, she added.
During the next four days, trainees will learn methods used in Sweden and other countries to engage boys and men in advocating gender equality and preventing domestic violence, as well as learning consulting skills for dealing with men who have committed domestic violence.
Instead of taking a conventional approach, which often looks at women as victims and the men who are perpetrators as criminals, the workshop considers men who resort to violence as those in need of help.
According to lecturer Vidar Vetterfalk, a psychologist working for “Men for Equality” – a Swedish non-government organisation--when faced with family conflict, men tend to react with anger and fear that everything is spinning out of their control. This situation is compounded by the fact that men grow up with “deep-rooted values and attitudes” towards women that were passed from generation to generation.
Therefore, he added, they need help and communication so they don’t take recourse to violence as a solution.
Through exchanges of practical experience and knowledge from other countries, trainees are expected to develop their own solutions that fit into the Vietnamese context and provide the best strategies to put a stop to domestic violence in Vietnam.