Services including legal advise, counselling support, health care and shelters are not available for all women who suffer from domestic violence, heard a workshop on violence against women held in Hanoi on Nov. 23.

The workshop was co-organised by the United Nations and the Vietnam Women's Union on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25.

Vu Song Ha, gender consultant for the United Nations Population Fund said that to protect ill-treated women, a range of services such as shelters, legal advice and counselling support must be "available, accessible and affordable."

In addition to the lack of services, Ha also pointed out that factors such as discrimination against victims of domestic violence as well as limited capacity and lack of gender-sensitive attitudes among social workers are also challenges that hinder women's access to these services.

According to the National Study on Domestic Violence against Women released last year by the General Statistics Office and the United Nations, 32 percent of women who have married reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their husbands at some time in their lives.

However, nearly 50 percent of the women said they did not tell anybody about their husbands' violent behaviour and 87 percent did not seek any support from organisations.

Pratibha Mehta, Resident Co-ordinator of the UN in Vietnam , said it is very important to have a planning, monitoring and evaluation framework, which translates existing national laws and legislation into action that ensures all victims have access to quality health care and protection services.

According to Huynh Vinh Ai, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, two-thirds of the cities and provinces throughout Vietnam have an action plan on domestic violence prevention and control.

Reports from 55 out of 63 cities and provinces throughout the country reveal that in 2010, there were more than 5,600 secure addresses at the community level that accommodated 1,022 victims of domestic violence./.