The UN Women Vietnam on September 30 handed over essential equipment worth VND483.4 million (US$21,200) to three Peace House Shelters in Hanoi and the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to upgrade free helpline (1900 969680).
The assistance aims to improve responses to domestic and international calls and reports of violence against women, and to continue to improve the overall quality of the support services for victims of violence and human trafficking.
This is part of UN Women’s efforts to put an end to violence and human trafficking targeting women in the ASEAN region.
According to UN Women, along with impacts on the socio-economic situation, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a rise in violence against women and children.
Addressing the hand-over ceremony, Elisa Fernandez Saenz, UN Women Country Representative in Vietnam, noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with rigorous response measures, has exacerbated pre-existing limitations regarding services to respond to violence against women and children. Therefore, support to upgrade these services is necessary, not only in the context of COVID-19, but in the long term to ensure the dignity, survival and social integration of women who are victims of violence and human trafficking. UN Women is delighted to accompany Peace House Shelters in this journey, she stated.
In early 2021, within the framework of an urgent response to violence against women and children during the COVID-19 pandemic, and funded by the Australian Government, UN Women donated equipment worth nearly VND1.5 billion (US$660,000) to improve the quality of support services for women and children who are victims of gender-based violence.
To overcome systemic challenges posed by limited state budget allocation, UN Women is committed to continue supporting the Peace House Shelters across the nation to upgrade psychological counseling services and to strengthen overall coordination and connection to provide more holistic support to women and child survivors in Vietnam, said the UN Women representative.
Meanwhile, Duong Ngoc Linh, Director of the Center for Women and Development which is in charge of the Peace House Shelters, thanked UN Women for the efforts. She affirmed that the equipment is a meaningful gift which motivates all employees who are always committed to the peace of women and children. In the meantime, it contributes to the completion of the service package to support women and children experiencing gender-based violence, especially in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, she added.
The helpline number 1900 969680, along with a counseling room, and the three Peace House Shelters all run by the Centre for Women and Development under the Vietnam Women's Union, were established to provide emergency and comprehensive support services for women and children experiencing domestic violence, sexual abuse and trafficking.
After 19 years of operation in Hanoi, and four years in Can Tho, the helpline has counselled on 8,063 cases, amounting to 9,850 survivors over the course of 12,961 calls. In addition, 3,424 women and child survivors of gender-based violence from 50 provinces and 17 ethnic minority regions were supported in-person at the Peace House Shelters.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of consultations via both the helpline and social media channels of the Peace House Shelters increased seven times compared to 2019, and in the first six months of 2021, the number of callers increased 140% compared to the same period of 2020. The Peace House Shelters have coordinated with local authorities in crisis counseling and emergency intervention, intervening in nearly 30 cases, an increase of 40% compared to the same period last year.
Victims and witnesses of violence against women and children can report and seek help via hotline 1900 969680.