Report on Coronavirus Webinar 2: Policy perspectives on protection of victims of domestic violence

The second webinar in series of weekly events organized by the Global Network of Women’s Shelters took place today. Speakers covered issues of prevention measures and government policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic.


Dr. Twu Shiing-jer was Minister for Health and Welfare in Taiwan during the SARS crisis. The lessons learned from the outbreak in 2003 have been credited for helping Taiwan keep COVID-19 under control. Dr. Twu has also served as a legislator and the mayor of Chiayi City.

Chen I-ju is a Section Chief in the Department of Protective Services under the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Ms. Chen’s department handles domestic violence prevention services, the national domestic abuse hotline, and other programs including women’s shelters.

Shelter representatives:

  • Chisato Kitanaka, Japan, Asia Network of Women’s Shelters
  • Diana Vàzquez, Ecuador, Interamerican Network of shelters (RiRE)
  • Van Anh Nguyen, Vietnam
  • Maria Munir, Ethiopia
  • Pille Tsopp-Pagan,  Estonia/WAVE
  • Cindy Southworth, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), USA
  • Chi Hui-Jung, Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS)

The webinar addressed the following questions:

  1. In lockdown situations, how can shelters and domestic violence prevention organizations respond?
  2. What should governments do to address the needs of survivors of violence?
  3. What procedures should shelters follow to treat residents who show symptoms of COVID-19?
  4. What policies should governments implement to help shelters respond to coronavirus?
  5. How can shelters protect the confidentiality of survivors and avoid screening that denies access to services, while at the same time also protect the health of other residents and staff from COVID-19?
  6. What lessons did Taiwan learn from SARS that helped prepare for coronavirus?

Presentation Materials

  • Presentation on COVID-19 by former Taiwanese Health Minister Dr. Twu Shiing-jer
  • Remarks by Chen I-ju, Protective Services Department, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan
    • What are the government’s policies regarding COVID-19 response measures to be taken by shelters?
      Regarding measures taken at women’s shelters, we follow the Guidelines for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens (COVID-19) Infection Control at Long-term Care Facilities adopted by the Taiwanese government (outlined in last week’s webinar). The measures include infection prevention education and training, advocating proper hygiene, health management of employees and shelter residents, management of visitors, reporting and management of infected persons, a list of precautions for those at risk of infection, and standardized protection measures.The safety of those conducting at-home quarantine and isolation must be evaluated. If an individual is found to be in need of shelter services, we will provide the individual with an isolated room for one based on the Guidelines for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens (COVID-19) Infection Control at Accommodation-type Long-term Care Facilities, thus ensuring both safety and infection control.
    • If a lockdown takes place, how can domestic violence be prevented? What measures will the government take?
      To prevent domestic violence from increasing in frequency or severity during at-home isolation or quarantine, the following measures have been adopted:We will continually monitor the number of reports of domestic violence throughout Taiwan, especially in regions with greater numbers of people in at-home isolation or quarantine, and compare these numbers to those of years past to see whether the number of reports is abnormally increasing or decreasing. If there is an abnormal change, we will respond as quickly as possible while continuing to supervise the related visits and investigations conducted by local government agencies in the handling of such cases to ensure established procedure is being followed and to provide protection services when needed.During the outbreak, 24 hours a day, those in need may obtain aid by calling the Protection Hotline at 113 or the police at 110, or they may make reports on the online platform The 113 Protection Hotline provides not only phone consultation but also online and messaging consultation. This means that there are other options when an individual who is in at-home isolation or quarantine suffers from domestic violence but is unable to call 113 or 110.

      We will continue to promote the Zero Tolerance for Violence Community Plan to enhance people’s consciousness of domestic violence in their communities and encourage them to take the initiative in providing assistance or reporting incidents. We are also encouraging cooperation between local governments, organizations, neighborhood/borough heads, and borough administrative staff, especially regarding those in at-home isolation or quarantine, to be acutely aware of what is happening. In accordance with the law, they are to report any suspicion of domestic violence that may be aroused while they are providing services to families.

Other resources

Be sure to join next week’s webinar on Using Technology to Support Victims During the Coronavirus Crisis.

2 thoughts on “Report on Coronavirus Webinar 2: Policy perspectives on protection of victims of domestic violence

  1. Pingback: Webinar #3: Using Technology to Support Victims – Asian Network of Women's Shelters

  2. Pingback: Webinar #13: Data and Shelter Management During Times of Crisis – Asian Network of Women's Shelters

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