UNFPA provides dignity kits for Vietnamese women at risk of violence hinh anh 1The Dignity Kits will be distributed to women at high risk of gender-based violence in the humanitarian context, particularly in the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) –
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam has provided 3,700 Dignity Kits along with communication materials to assist Vietnam in fighting against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dignity Kits will be distributed to women at high risk of GBV in the humanitarian context, particularly in the COVID-19 pandemic, through national and sub-national levels.

Of those, 2,800 dignity kits were delivered to the Vietnam Farmers’ Union on November 2. These set will be sent to women at risk of GBV in the central city of Da Nang. The rest of 900 dignity kits were delivered to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs for handing over to 17 social work centers nationwide, as well as to the Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender - Family - Women and Adolescents (CSAGA) for delivery to communities and Anh Duong House for GBV survivors in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

Violence against women and children is one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world today, and its negative impacts on survivors, their families, and communities is immense. The National Study on Violence Against Women in Vietnam in 2019 showed that nearly two in three married women (almost 63 percent) have experienced one or more forms of physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and controlling behaviours by their husbands in their lifetime, and almost 32 percent in the last 12 months.

About 48 percent of victims did not tell anyone about the violence they endured, and 90.4 percent did not seek any help from public services. The overall productivity loss caused by violence against women was estimated at 1.81 percent of GDP in 2018.

A pre-existing crisis of violence against women and children has been exacerbated in the context of COVID-19. Recent reports have shown that restrictions in movement, social isolation and similar containment measures, coupled with existing or increased social and economic pressures and stress on families, have led to an increase in violence, particularly against women and children. It is estimated that such violence has increased by at least 30 percent in many countries.

In Vietnam, the Peace House Hotline 1900 969 680 (a shelter run by the Vietnam Women’s Union) and the Sunshine Hotline 1800 1769 (supported by UNFPA in Quang Ninh in partnership with the Korea International Cooperation Agency – KOICA) have received twice as many calls for help over the past months compared to the same months in previous years. It has been reported that risks of physical abuse, sexual abuse and child sexual abuse and exploitation have increased substantially.

The Dignity Kits are a signature feature of UNFPA's comprehensive package of humanitarian assistance to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, mitigate the risk of gender-based violence, and respond and protect the dignity of women and girls adversely affected by a crisis.

Preserving dignity is essential to maintaining self-esteem and confidence, which is important to cope in stressful and potentially overwhelming humanitarian situations. The Dignity Kits comprise the basic items that women and girls need to protect themselves and maintain their basic hygiene, respect, and dignity in the face of crisis.

“Supporting people affected by humanitarian crises is not only the right thing but also the wise thing to do to save lives and build resilience to avoid COVID-19 from cycling back to the vulnerable people and communities around the globe,” said Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative at the handover ceremony.  

“UNFPA is calling on the Government and partners to prioritise sexual and reproductive health of women and girls, address high risks of gender-based violence, and respond urgently to their special needs,” said Kitahara.

This activity is under the Government of Australia-funded project on “Supporting Interventions to Eliminate Violence against women and Children in Vietnam under COVID-19 Emergency Context”./.