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HA NOI, 22 November 2013 – Violence against women and girls constitutes one of the gravest violations of women's and girls' human rights. It also undermines family stability and solidarity. Addressing and ending violence against women and girls has received special attention across the world. 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. The UN study "Cost of Domestic Violence Against Women in Viet Nam" released in 2012 showed that domestic violence resulted in an overall productivity loss of 1.78 per cent of GDP in 2010. The social costs, however, are even greater as violence against women has significant influences on social cohesion and communities' resilience. Generally, violence against women and girls hampers economic growth and the ability to reduce poverty nation-wide.

Viet Nam today has a solid legal framework in place to address gender equality and gender-based violence, as well as legal documents to guide the implementation of the existing laws. 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.

In response to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25), the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, Farmers' Union and Women's Union in collaboration with the United Nations in Viet Nam and other development partners today launch the national campaign "Join Hands to End Violence against Women and Girls". The campaign aims to attract the public's attention, particularly of men and boys, for joint action from all members of society to end violence against women and girls in Viet Nam.

Ms. Pratibha Mehta, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Viet Nam, said: "It is time to act NOW and end violence against women and girls. We need to work together to ensure that Vietnamese women are empowered to step up and speak out. Ending violence against women and girls cannot succeed without the participation of men and boys. Men have a critical role to play. Women alone cannot end domestic violence, it must be done in partnership with all members of society."

The campaign consists of a series of activities including workshops, policy dialogues, exhibitions, parades in Ha Noi, Hai Duong and Ben Tre, and awareness raising via mass and social media with nationwide coverage. Detailed information about the events is outlined in the attached Campaign Information Sheet.

Regardless of who you are, where you are from, or your age, region, occupation and gender, you can join hands to end violence against women and girls. Every small action counts and contributes to a society of equality, respect and love.