Campaign 16 days of activism to end violence against women officially opened

25 November 2013

Ha Noi, 25 November 2013 – A policy dialogue on Prevention and Control of Violence against women and girls was held in Ha Noi today by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the United Nations in Viet Nam. This dialogue marks the official opening of the annual 16 days of activism to end violence against women globally, as well as in Viet Nam. There were more than 100 representatives from government agencies, UN agencies, international and local NGOs and the media participating in the  dialogue.

Data on domestic violence in Viet Nam 
The National Study on Domestic Violence against Women, released by the General Statistics Office and the United Nations in Viet Nam in 2010, showed that 58 per cent of ever-married women had experienced at least one form of violence (physically, mentally or sexually) at some point in their lives. Approximately 50 per cent of victims did not tell anyone about the violence they endured and 87 per cent did not seek help from public services. 

Violence against women and girls not only has serious impacts on the physical and spiritual well-being of victims, it also has enormous socio-economic costs. In Viet Nam, women who are victims of domestic violence earn up to 35 per cent less than other women. Altogether, the opportunity cost and productivity loss of domestic violence amounted to more than 3 per cent of Viet Nam’s GDP in 2010 alone.

Legal framework in Viet Nam 
Viet Nam passed the Law on Gender Equality in 2006, the Law on Domestic Violence and Control in 2007, and the Law on Suppression and Prevention of Human Trafficking in 2012. Decrees to help implement the Domestic Violence Law were issued in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The National Strategy on Gender Equality, 2011-2020, and the National Programme on Gender Equality, 2011-2015 have both increased Viet Nam’s ability to address gender inequality. The revision of the Labour Code in 2012 prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.
However, more needs to be done to effectively implement and reinforce the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control as well as to end all violence against women and girls.

“We must stop violence before it occurs. We need education in schools that teaches gender equality and mutual respect. We must ensure boys and girls are shown appropriate gender roles at home and in public places. We must inspire young people to fight for equality as a human right," said Ms. Pratibha Mehta, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Viet Nam.

This event is among many activities of the campaign "Join Hands to end violence against women and girls".