Press Release

The Government of Viet Nam, the Government of Australia and United Nations agencies (UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women) step up effort to protect women and children from violence

24 May 2021

HA NOI, 24 May 2021 – The Government of Viet Nam, Government of Australia, and the United Nations agencies (UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women) have committed working together and called for more joint efforts to end violence against women and children at the today’ ceremony to close the joint project “Supporting Interventions to Eliminate Violence against Women and Children in Viet Nam under COVID 19 Emergency Context” and to sign the new joint project “Elimination of Violence against Women and Children in Viet Nam 2021-2025”. The ceremony was held by the Government of Australia and UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women in Viet Nam.

The outgoing project was implemented jointly by UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women from May 2020 to May 2021 in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MOCST), the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), the Viet Nam Farmer’s Union, the Viet Nam Women’s Union, CSAGA and other relevant stakeholders. The project aimed at strengthening the national prevention and response mechanisms to address violence against women and children (VAWC) in the context of COVID-19.

After one year of implementation, the project has achieved key results as follows:

  • Innovative communication approaches were introduced in more than 100 supermarkets, mini-marts, and pharmacies, which is the best locations to reach women at risk of violence, especially under COVID-19 strict social-distance initiatives, and these outlets distributed 10,700 leaflets on gender-based violence (GBV) in four provinces, 53,600 leaflets and 12,800 posters on the guidelines for the safety of women and children in quarantine centres, and 55,600 leaflets and 12,400 posters on mental health and psychosocial support for children, adolescents and youth in 400 quarantine centres nationwide.
  • With voices amplified by a range of celebrities and influencers, the national #Blueheart communication campaign raising awareness on exacerbated violence against children and women during COVID-19 gained a wide audience of general public, parents, children, adolescents and policy makers across social and mass media platforms with over 100 million reaches, followed by other communication interventions with an added 55 million turns of informed people.
  • Digital technology and social media were fully utilized to increase the understanding of risks of gender-based violence amid COVID-19, reaching nearly 55 million viewers through a Facebook competition, livestream talk shows, news stories on national televisions and other media outlets, broadcasts by LCD screens in elevators, and other targeted outreach activities at grassroots level.
  • Protection services were provided through Hotlines run by Anh Duong House, Peace House, and CSAGA, serving more than 13,000 people for consultations, advice, and referrals. Among them, 832 survivors of violence received direct and catered support from trained staff.
  • The project distributed 6,644 dignity kits with 21 essential items to women who undergo and who are at risks of violence in quarantine centers, shelters and lockdown areas in Ha Noi, Da Nang, Quang Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Duong.
  • The joint plan to support Da Nang in response to the second wave of COVID-19 was urgently developed and implemented. Information related to increased risk of violence against women and children and support services were widely disseminated through daily loud speaker bulletins, with distribution of 18,000 leaflets, 3,000 directories, large posters, and short clips.  Two temporary shelters were set up at hotels, with three advisory groups established, and local hotline numbers were operated, with 69 women survivors of violence receiving emergency cash transfers.

Building on the project’s success, the Government of Australia is now providing AUD 9.5 million to support the new projectElimination of Violence against Women and Children in Viet Nam which will be implemented from June 2021 to July 2025. This new project aims to achieve a goal that all women and children in Viet Nam, including those most vulnerable, are able to live a life free of violence through strengthened prevention strategies and multisectoral responses to promote the following outcomes:

  1. Evidence based laws and policies, increased resource allocation and strengthened coordination and accountability structures promoted and supported to prevent and respond to violence against women and children, in line with national and international standards and commitments
  2. A strengthened and more effective multi-sectoral response (including systems, capacities, and service provision) delivers increased access to quality essential services for victims and survivors of violence.
  3. More effective violence prevention, gender and social norm change promoted through innovative evidence-based communication, awareness raising, advocacy and community mobilization
  4. Improved research, data collection and analysis and knowledge exchange inform an evidence-based approach to prevent and respond to violence.

At the event, H.E Robyn Mudie, Australian Ambassador to Viet Nam said: “Over the last 12 months, all countries have learnt that a comprehensive response to the pandemic means responding to the challenges to the facing women and children, and working to ensure their safety.  Australia is pleased to be able to announce a new four year initiative worth $9.5 million Australian dollars under which we will work with Viet Nam and our UN partners, to support women and children survivors of violence. Over the next four years, the program will strengthen prevention strategies and multisectoral response efforts to end violence against women and children (EVAWC). This program will work to strengthen systems that respond to violence and provide support to survivors.  We hope that this long-term, practical approach will make a difference where it matters most and that women and children will be able to seek and receive help when they need it.”

The project we are launching today shows a great cooperation between the Government of Australia, the Government of Viet Nam, and the UN agencies to address violence against women and children in Viet Nam. Ending violence against women and children should be a priority for everyone. There is no way for Viet Nam to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals without addressing the issue of violence against women and children. It is about making sure that everyone is part of the country’s sustainable development process, leaving no one behind. We are not leaving women behind. We are not leaving children behind. Together, we are contribution to a Viet Nam where there is no violence against women and children, and everyone’s dignity is respected,” said Ms. Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam.

Violence against women and children has been a major societal problem prior to COVID-19 striking. We have reached a point when we need to understand that violence against women and children costs our economic growth in the future and it’s time to stand up, to change the situation and to draw a line where we indicate that we have zero tolerance to violence against women and children,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative to Viet Nam. “The Australian Government’s continued commitment to ending violence against women and children is pivotal in the fight for home to be a safe space for many more women and children in Viet Nam.”

Mrs. Elisa Fernandez Saenz, UN Women Representative in Viet Nam said “The COVID-19 pandemic has made evident the need for available, quality essential services to provide an effective response to cases of violence against women and children. It also taught us that collaboration among all stakeholders, is needed to make a substantive difference in times of crises. As we move forward to the next 4-year project, we are offered a key opportunity to sustain our joint efforts so that capacities, resources and systems are in place to adequately respond to every case of gender-based violence and prevent new ones. UN Women is pleased to embark in this journey together”. 

Violence against women and children is one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world today, and its negative impact on survivors, their families, and communities is immense. The 2019 National Study on Violence Against Women in Viet Nam, which was supported by the Government of Australia and UNFPA, showed that nearly two in three married women (almost 63 per cent) have experienced one or more forms of physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence and controlling behaviours by their husbands in their lifetime. 4.4% of children are subjected to sexual abuse. The overall productivity loss caused by violence against women was estimated at 1. 81% of GDP in 2018.

A UNICEF study points to as many as 275 million children worldwide are exposed to violence in the home. In actuality, millions more children may be affected by violence in the home. Violence against women and children tends to increase in frequency and severity during crisis. The health side of COVID 19 had a lesser impact on children but it is the indirect consequences of the disease that flow from the lockdown measures to control its spread that have a child’s face. They impact children dramatically – from closed schools, to staying inside in crowded spaces, to pressure to make on-line learning work. Growing unemployment, increased anxiety and financial stress, and a scarcity of community resources have set the stage for an exacerbated domestic violence and abuse of children crisis. By June 2020, an estimated 30.8 million people in Viet Nam had been adversely impacted by COVID-19 and 53.7 per cent of workers had encountered reduced income.

The Government of Viet Nam, Government of Australia, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women are all working together in this new partnership to end violence against women and children.

No matter where violence happens, in what forms, or who it affects, it must be stopped.

Together, we work to create a world where both men and women, and boys and girls, can enjoy life free from violence.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh | UNFPA Communications | Email: tnguyen@unfpa.org | Tel: 0913093363

Ms. Tran Phuong Anh | UNICEF Communications | Email: tpanh@unicef.org | Tel: 0988740155

Ms. Hoang Thao | UN Women Communications | Email: hoang.thao@unwomen.org | Tel: 0705143996