Video and Q&A from the “Coronavirus and women’s shelters: Planning, preparation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic” webinar

The Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) and Asian Network of Women’s Shelters jointly organized a webinar on “Coronavirus and women’s shelters: Planning, preparation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic” on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. 8-9:30PM Taiwan time. 

Seven hundred people from all over the world registered for the webinar. The following is the video of the event and answers to some of the questions posted online by participants. We are planning to hold another webinar at 6PM Taiwan time on Wednesday April 1.


  • What happened to the financial resources of the shelters? Did they completely stopped or the government took part?
    In Taiwan the government has continued to support shelters as normal, and helped supply them with free thermometers, masks and alcohol sanitizer. Other equipment such as gloves, protective clothing, visors etc must be purchased by the shelters.
  • Does the shelters with their own resources took care of the costs of caring for those who are infected?
    Officially the government should do that, but in practice there are some gaps in what they give.
  • How did you manage the behaviour challenges, anxiety, acting out?
    GOH has counselors and spiritual counselors who visit the shelters to provide support and prayer for the residents.
  • What kind of support/collaboration did you need from your government?
    The government needs to help prepare quarantine facilities for confirmed cases, and alternative accommodation if the shelter has to be evacuated.
  • Are you reusing masks? Or did everyone get fresh masks daily?
    In the shelters the government provides free masks. For the public, the government is rationing masks, everyone can buy 3 a week. Most people are reusing masks for 2-3 days before disposing them.
  • What type of masks are provided and what training?
    Medical masks, not N95 respirators, but good enough for general use. Training is the same as WHO recommendations – use with good hand hygiene, don’t touch the front of the mask, etc.
  • In Alberta we are being told to only use masks on those who are infected or suspected of infection.
    Taiwan is producing 13 million masks a day, but even then the government is still rationing them to the public. In countries where there is a shortage of masks, we can understand why the authorities are channeling them to health workers and suspected cases only.
  • How many times per day do you apply sanitation measures?
    It is done in the morning, lunchtime, and afternoon/evening. Surfaces that everyone touches, including handles, switches, tables, computer keyboards, etc are sterilized with alcohol spray. Floors in the clients’ rooms are done with bleach in the morning and evening.
  • Was this structure for response already in place before?
    Yes, since the SARS crisis these protocols have been ready. Every winter the government also provides free influenza vaccines to shelters, and N95 masks for children who develop a fever.
  • Are there any contingency plans if you end up with a lot of survivors? The distancing may be difficult if the shelters are at full capacity or even more.
    We are making plans for two possible scenarios – either move everyone to a separate care center for quarantine, or if there is enough space keep everyone in the shelter in separate spaces.
  • What are the testing policies in place. Universal testing, weekly testing, testing after symptoms, testing only of those in vulnerable populations?
    In Taiwan there is testing for (1) suspected cases, (2) people who have been in contact with confirmed cases, (3) anyone coming in from overseas.
  • Is food served with disposable utensils?
    Some shelters are using disposable plates etc, others give residents their own utensils which they wash themselves.
  • What can we do if we are receiving push back from funders on protocol? For example, we are being told that we are violating residents’ rights by taking clients temperatures and that if we quarantine clients on one certain level of the shelter this could be discrimination that is an issue we are facing. Please send us the info and we can help raise awareness on our social media sites and other networks.
  • In USA we are not allowed to ask clients these questions because of VAWA rules. So how do we really stay safe?
    So far this hasn’t been an issue in Taiwan. We would need to defer to our colleagues in North America for advice on client confidentiality regulations.
  • Hello from Ontario, Canada. We are not on official lockdown yet. Most people are practicing self-quarantine. Because we are not on lockdown, we are reluctant to enforce that women stay in shelter. How would you recommend we move forward? Is it ethical to enforce self-quarantine on women in shelter for the safety of all there?
    See above.
  • Hello from Slovakia, I have a question about child custody and visitation rights: if and how do your governments or courts deal with the question of visitation rights of abusive men who have court decisions defining their visitation rights and insist on seeing their children and/or taking them to their households for the weekend or longer period of time in case of joint custody? Are there any regulations on that in any of the participating countries?
    There isn’t a lockdown in Taiwan at the moment so we haven’t had to face issues of rights and ethics yet.
  • In Mongolia we have very few cases and no community transmission yet, so now is truly the time for preparation. What are some things you wish you did before outbreaks? Hopefully, we can learn from your experience and prepare well. Thanks.
    Prepare supplies and resources, including food, train your staff, residents and children, teach and practice social distancing. The most important thing is sanitizer hand wash and masks.
  • What’s the possibility of having more domestic violence and how to handle it?
    This is a real possibility. Employers need to check up on staff working at home to make sure they are safe. The social welfare system also needs to deliver heightened protection services.
    Comment from a participant: In Lazio and Campania we are experiencing a dramatic decrease in phone calls and access of women subjected to SGBV, 80% less than usual. We activated all possible alternatives to phone calls, and promoted them online, to allow women to contact us through emails, SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger and even social media as Telegram and Tictoc. As for migrant women, survivors of SGBV, including human trafficking, we are sending messages and videos in different languages to provide information on the lockdown measures and the possibility to ask for help. We agree that this is the moment to push for authorities to apply the laws on protection measures for women, believing survivors and forcing men to leave houses.
  • I have a question about local communities with high underserved populations, e.g., rural, indigenous. Have your shelters accepted new clients and if so, how can underserved communities access the shelter, e.g., transportation to shelter, acute trauma medical needs, separation from abuser if necessary, etc., when under a government-ordered lockdown?
    So far thankfully we haven’t faced this situation in Taiwan yet.
    Comment from participant: In the midst of the crisis, people with oriental features belonging to north east part of India are forced to flee and look for alternate shelters. They are suspected to be carriers of the virus and hence asked to vacate rented places. Housing / rights to reside are being violated. Government, police are being strict with such perpetrators of such abuse. Racism, discrimination and abuse are off shoots of the pandemic which will require long term support.
  • Do you recommend moving to a model where essential staff live in shelter?
    No. We wouldn’t recommend that unless the staff were quarantined with the residents.
  • Have domestic violence shelters made any changes in their policies with rape crisis centers?
    So far no.
  • Are you providing food for the women who are being housed outside of the shelter?
    Not at the moment, no.
  • Would he be possible to email a script of this after?
    Yes, we will send out an email with the recording and transcript
  • How do counsellors reach out with psycho social care to women in distress?
    Social workers and counselors have cut down or stopped home visits and transferred to using video conferencing or telephone calls.
  • What are you doing to prevent the crisis and spread and to support clients with programming in the shelter?
    At the moment, education, hygiene, distancing, health checks, communicating online etc.
  • Is it better to medically examine women survivors of violence before we can provide shelter services for them, or is it better to ask that they have an isolated rooms until the health is confirmed?
    In Taiwan we are following the protocol of temperature check and TOCC questions before entering the shelter, then get a test if they are suspected, and either send them for medical treatment or isolate in the shelter. Please see the presentation slides for details.
  • Some children from children shelters went home only the orphans are left with us. So what measures could be taken when they come back?
    In Taiwan shelters would follow the same protocol as above.
  • We only have one medium/long term shelter in Solomon Islands. If there is a confirmed case in shelter, does the entire shelter need to close while everyone is quarantined for 14 days? And how then would we ensure service continuity?
    If the shelter has the space to allow residents and staff to stay safely apart then it can become a quarantine center, if not, then we suggest contingency plans for alternative accommodation such as a hotel.

Presentation slides and other documents:

Other resources


  • Ni Hsin, Mustard Seed Mission (MSM), Taiwan
  • Anthony Carlisle, The Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH), Taiwan
  • Chi Hui-Jung, Global Network of Women’s Shelters
  • Cindy Southworth & Erica Olsen, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), USA
  • Marcella Pirrone, D.i.Re, Italy
  • Margaret Augerinos, Center for Non-Violence, Australia
  • Fatima Outaleb, UAF Shelter, Morocco
  • Margarita Guille, Red Interamericana de Refugios, Mexico
  • Maria Munir, AWSAD, Ethiopia

Many thanks to NNEDV for hosting this event.

WEBINAR – Coronavirus and women’s shelters: Planning, preparation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) and ANWS are jointly organizing a webinar on “Coronavirus and women’s shelters: Planning, preparation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic” on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. 8:00PM-9:30PM Taiwan time (08:00AM-9:30AM Eastern Time US & Canada)

The rapid spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis around the world. As with most disasters, women and girls are likely to be disproportionately affected.

The outbreak presents huge challenges for shelters in terms of safety and training for staff, protection of clients, measures to contain an outbreak within a facility, helping staff work remotely while still supporting victims, and ensuring adequate resources are in place. In addition, as families are encouraged or forced to stay at home, women and children who are vulnerable to domestic abuse will be at greater risk.

In this webinar, we will invite shelter organizations from Taiwan and other countries around the world to share best practices and current developments in the battle against COVID-19. Topics of discussion will include:

  • shelter health and safety guidelines,
  • response principles and control measures,
  • experiences from other epidemic situations,
  • use of technology,
  • how to help shelter staff work from home,
  • strategies to deal with city, state or national lockdowns,
  • protecting client confidentiality,
  • advice for other GBV prevention programs

Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong have been praised for their efforts to curtail the spread of coronavirus. Some have attributed this success to lessons learned from the SARS outbreak in 2003. While the current crisis is far from over, there may be experiences from Asia that could be of benefit to other parts of the world.

The goals of this webinar will be to share information on disease control policies of shelter organizations, provide support and solidarity to front-line staff already working in difficult circumstances, and highlight areas of concern that may have been overlooked by policymakers.

Registration is free. The webinar will be recorded and the video posted online so people who were not able to join can view it later.

Contributing organizations:

  • Mustard Seed Mission (MSM), Taiwan
  • The Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH), Taiwan
  • Global Network of Women’s Shelters
  • Asian Network of Women’s Shelters
  • Other shelter organizations from around the world


  • Introductions and housekeeping (5 minutes)
  • Presentation by MSM (15 minutes)
  • Presentation from GOH (5 minutes)
  • Updates from the regions – Asia, Europe, Africa, MENA, Latin America, N America (3-5 minutes each)
  • Q&A / Discussion (35-45 minutes)


Many thanks to the US National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) for hosting this event.


Asian Network of Women’s Shelters Internship Program

GOH shelter in KaohsiungThe Asian Network of Women’s Shelters (ANWSInternship Program is a unique two-week project that offers talented professionals, who are working for crisis shelters or other organizations offering services to survivors of gender-based violence in Asia, the opportunity to gain a hands-on experience of shelter management in Taiwan. The program runs in November 2019 to give interns the opportunity to take part in the Fourth World Conference of Women’s Shelters (4WCWS).

Application Deadline: August 31, 2019

Program Dates*: Two weeks in November 2019 (exact dates to be decided by the interns and hosting shelters).

Suggested Itinerary*:

  • Nov 4: Arrive in Taiwan / Briefing
  • Nov 5-8: Participate in 4WCWS
  • Nov 9-10: Rest
  • Nov 11-15: Internship at shelter
  • Nov 16: Return home

Applicant Criteria:

  • Gender: Female
  • Experienced social workers, counselors, supervisors and other staff at NGOs providing protection services for women and girls in Asia.
  • Outstanding applicants from other fields will also be will also be considered
  • Recommendation from an ANWS member organization
  • Proficiency in spoken English (some understanding of Chinese would be a plus)
  • Commitment to apply, develop and implement learnings in home country after the conclusion of the internship
  • Demonstrated professional excellence
  • Independent and self-directed

The ANWS secretariat, the Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH), will help interns obtain visas and make other travel and lodging arrangements.

Costs Covered by GOH:

  1. round-trip economy class airfare,
  2. all accommodation in Taiwan (shared, twin-room, mid-range hotel),
  3. registration fees for 4WCWS,
  4. visa fees (if necessary),
  5. some meals.

Interns will be expected to pay for meals while not working at the shelter or attending 4WCWS events. Commuting and airport shuttle travel is also not covered by the program. GOH will not pay the interns wages, overtime, compensation, insurance or other benefits.

Expectations and Goals 

The purpose of the program is for interns to learn through work. Interns will not be expected to take on major responsibilities, and will receive supervision and support from the host shelter, including assistance from an English-speaking member of staff who will help translate for the intern.

Interns will follow the working hours and practices of their host shelter. Interns will make presentation at a debriefing before returning home, and submit a final report on their experiences before December 1, 2019.

Click here to fill out the application form

*Program Schedule is subject to change.

Contact: King Tsang

ANWS webinar on “Guidelines for Producing Data on Shelter Needs and Violence against Women”

22417496829_20cd72441d_oIn-house collection of data on shelter needs and the prevalence and incidence of violence against women is the starting point for improving services, lobbying for better funding, and ultimately developing more effective mechanisms at the policy level to eradicate violence against women.

This webinar on September 27, 2018 at 21:30 on Thursday evening (Taipei time) will introduce the Canadian shelter network’s rationale for shared measurement practices, and highlight some of the more practical concerns of aggregating data across a diverse network. The webinar is organized by the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters (ANWS) and hosted by Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS).

The webinar will be led by Jan Reimer, executive director of ACWS, and Cat Van Wielingen, research and projects advisor with ACWS (bios below).

ACWS is a peak body for women’s shelters in the Canadian province of Alberta, providing support to members and leadership to leverage collective knowledge, and inform solutions to end domestic violence. ACWS has decades of experience collecting data and conducting research on local, national and global levels to develop tools for shelters to use in public information campaigns and advocacy for policy change.

Please register for the webinar here. After signing up, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the webinar.

  • Webinar topic: “Guidelines for Producing Data on Shelter Needs and Violence against Women”
  • Date and time: September 27, 2018, 9:30PM Taipei Time.
  • Agenda:
    21:30 Introductions and review of webinar protocols
    21:35 Presentation by Jan and Cat
    22:20 Q&A
    22:50 Closing remarks
    23:00 Webinar ends

About the speakers:

janJan Reimer
Throughout her long and distinguished career, Jan Reimer has worked tirelessly to promote safe communities and ensure the well-being of society’s most vulnerable members – seniors, youth and women in abusive relationships. Since 2002, she has served as the Executive Director of ACWS, which supports 37women’s shelters across the province. Ms. Reimer has helped propel the organization into a leadership role on issues of domestic violence in Alberta and enhanced awareness and support for ACWS. She was instrumental in the creation of the World Conference of Women’s Shelters, with the first conference held in Edmonton in 2008.  She has served as a founding member of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters and Women’s Shelters Canada. Prior to ACWS, she worked as a consultant, developing, among other things, the Senior FriendlyTM Program, which was implemented across Canada.

An alderman for nine years, Ms. Reimer went on to serve as Mayor of the City of Edmonton from 1989 to 1995. During her two terms in office, she undertook a number of strategic initiatives, including: the Mayor’s Task Force on Safer Cities, a Youth Advisory Committee, a diversity initiative, an economic development strategy, a world renowned approach to waste management, the Mayor’s Task Force on Investment in the Arts and equitable hiring practices. Jan is the recipient of the 2006 Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, was named an “Edmontonian of the Century” and recently had a school named after her in the City of Edmonton.

Cat Van Wielingen
A Research and Projects Advisor with ACWS since 2014, Cat Van Wielingen has supported the council and its members to build and sustain their capacity to conduct action-based research. In this role, she works closely with the ACWS membership on training, support and strategic planning for the network’s shared database, data collection and outcome measurement practices.

Cat believes in collaboration and, in her time at ACWS, is fortunate to have witnessed first hand the strides shelters can make when they work collectively to end violence against women.

Prior to joining ACWS, Cat worked as the Quality Assurance Coordinator for a domestic violence organization in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She graduated from the University of Victoria in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Applied Ethics and obtained her Master’s degree in Planning at the University of Calgary in 2015.


Reference documents

2018 Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters & Japan National Shelter Symposium

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 2018 Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters will take place in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan on November 2 before the Japan National Shelters Symposium on November 3-4, 2018.

  • Theme: Evidence based research on shelter needs and the status of laws to prevent domestic violence and protect survivors in Asia
  • Venue: Tokyo & Sapporo, Japan
  • Dates: October 30-November 4, 2018
  • Organizers: The Garden of Hope Foundation, All Japan Women’s Shelter Network, Hiroshima University, Asian Network of Women’s Shelters

The Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters will be an international platform for scholars, researchers and shelter practitioners to discuss interdisciplinary research and practices in the fields of establishing and running a shelter in Asia, and collection and analysis of data on domestic violence.

The goal of the conference is to produce a report on shelter needs and review the current domestic violence prevention laws in Asia. The report will be a tool for NGOs in the region to advocate for better shelter services and lobby for law reform.

The conference is organized in partnership with the All Japan Women’s Shelter Network and Hiroshima University. As well as leaders of the Asian shelter movement, Ms. Rosa Logar, former president of Women Against Violence in Europe (WAVE), will be a guest speaker at the event.


  • October 30 (Tue) Arrive in Tokyo.
  • October 31, 2018 (Wed) Meeting with Japanese government officials. Travel to Sapporo.
  • Nov 1, 2018 (Thu) City tour, ANWS board meeting (closed), Sapporo shelter study tour.
  • Nov 2, 2018 (Fri) Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters.
  • Nov 3, 2018 (Sat) 21st National Japan Shelter Symposium.
  • Nov 4 (Sun) 21st National Japan Shelter Symposium (workshops in Japanese language), foreign guests return.

If you are interested in attending or would like to receive more details, please contact the ANWS secretariat.

This conference is partly subsidized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Taiwan), Hiroshima University under the “Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities”, and the Japan Foundation Asia Center Grant Program for Enhancing People-to-People Exchange.

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Inspiring Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters paves way to 2019 World Conference

Hosted by the Garden of Hope Foundation and the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters (ANWS), the Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters was held in Taipei from August 28-31, and attended by 180 people from 19 countries and over 60 shelter organizations in Asia and Europe.

Judy Wong, director of the MOFA Department of NGO International Affairs, addresses the Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters

For the participating shelter managers, staff, other activists and front-line workers, the event was an opportunity to connect with dedicated women leaders and social workers from around the world.

The opening ceremony on Monday August 28 introduced the theme of “Continental shifts in shelter management: Cross-regional dialogue on transforming women’s shelters”, with representatives from the continents of Asia and Europe placing heart-shaped lights on the shelter motif of the conference.

In her opening address, Chi Hui-Jung, CEO of the Garden of Hope and Chairperson of ANWS, said it was time for the government to release more social housing to give survivors of violence more options during the post-crisis period.

Bandana Rana, Chairperson of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters and CEDAW Committee Member, talked about how the shelter network had increased the vaisibility of the shelter movement.

Bandana Rana, GNWS chairperson & CEDAW committee member

In her keynote speech, Bandana made several concrete suggestions for the Asian Network, including using CEDAW and other human rights instruments to push to increase support for shelters, collecting data on shelter services in Asia, advocating for effective domestic violence laws, setting standards for shelter management, and initiating a dialogue with other regional forums.

Held in the context of a discussion on shelter transformation in Taiwan and other countries in Asia, speakers at the conference shared innovative models of shelter management and combating domestic violence.

Over the first two days, delegates heard from experts and practitioners in a series of panels on legal frameworks and policy strategies, network support for shelter services, economic empowerment programs for survivors, and new models for shelter management.

Claire Loeber, social worker, Oranje Huis

On Tuesday morning, social worker Claire Loeber from Blijf Groep in the Netherlands explained in detail how the innovative Orange House model works, from case management, assessment and selection of “red”, “orange” or “green” houses, and how to work with both survivors and perpetrators.

Among other highlights was a presentation on the Istanbul Convention by GREVIO vice president Rosa Logar, who explained how the law helped combat male-oriented or gender-neutral laws that do not account for the realities of women. Mr. Cheng Chien-Chih, Housing Development Section Chief at New Taipei City, impressed the audience with his presentation of a plan to put a social housing project for survivors of domestic violence above a police station. And Aisa Kiyosue and Chisato Kitanaka analyzed the shortcomings of the Japanese government’s laws and policies to protect victims of domestic violence.

The final section of the conference was devoted to an open space for participants to brainstorm ideas, exchange good practices, and learn and share with each other. Suggestions and new topics from the space, including how to involve governments in the network and how to add more practical “software” content, will be developed in future conferences.

Vice President Chen Chien-Jen and ACWS delegates

On Wednesday, international delegates paid a courtesy call to the Office of the President to lobby vice president Chen Chien-Jen to support the Garden of Hope’s bid to host the 2019 World Conference in Taiwan. Chen gave his full support to the plan, adding that the Taiwanese government supported the goals of the Istanbul Convention and was pleased to work with ANWS for the sake of vulnerable women and girl survivors of violence.

In the afternoon, the international delegates visited the Taipei City Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Center and a Garden of Hope shelter in New Taipei City.

Finally on Thursday, the official conference program wound down with a city tour of the National Palace Museum and the AMA Museum for Taiwanese “comfort women”.

Participants commented that the conference was “a wonderful learning experience” and “an inspiring conference” and added that they were looking forward to the World Conference in Taiwan in 2019.

The Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters was sponsored by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Welfare.


Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters starts in Taipei

(Monday, August 28, 2017) Attended by 180 people from 18 countries and over 60 shelter organizations in Asia and Europe, the Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters started in Taipei today. You can follow the proceeding on our live web-stream.

(L-R) Uma Shah, Sujana Ximenes, Reijke Kok, Bandana Rana, Ruby Wong, Najla Areeb, Chi Hui-Jung, Chang Hsiu-Yuan, Oyunbileg Baasanjav

The conference started with welcome speeches from Chi Hui-Jung, CEO of the Garden of Hope and Chairperson of ANWS, Bandana Rana, Chairperson of GNWS and CEDAW committee member, and Taiwanese government representatives.

Chi said it was time for the government to release more social housing to give survivors of violence more options during the post-crisis period. Bandana noted how GNWS, ANWS and other shelter networks had helped raise the visibility of shelters around the world. She also called for more data collection on shelter resources to effectively lobby governments.

The conference continues through August 28-29, with panel discussions on economic empowerment, networking, legal structures, and alternative forms of shelter services.


Countdown to the Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters 2017 – Taipei Aug 28-30

The Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters 2017 will be held in the Taipei on August 28-30 on the theme of “Continental shifts in shelter management: Cross-regional dialogue on transforming women’s shelters”.

The event will bring together shelter heads, domestic violence professionals and community partners from over a dozen Asian countries and many more organizations.

Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters 2017

Held in the context of a discussion on shelter transformation in Taiwan and other countries in Asia, experts from Europe and North America will be invited to share innovative models of shelter management and combating domestic violence – including the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention and the Oranje Huis (Orange House) model from the Netherlands.

These ideas will be developed in panel discussions between Asian and European participants, with interaction and questions from the audience, to bring out new ideas and solutions to improve the services for survivors of violence across Asia.

The afternoon of day two, and day three will be devoted to study tours of local shelter organizations, government domestic violence prevention centers, and other organizations. An option tour of scenic spots in northern Taiwan will be offered to international participants on August 31.

Check the exciting Agenda here, and if you are coming to Taipei, study our Logistics page for information about how to get here, what to wear, and what to bring.

Jobs, housing and networking top of the agenda at the Third Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters

Forty leaders of the shelter and gender equality movement in Asia met in the Hague, the Netherlands on November 2-3, 2015, to discuss the status of women’s empowerment in the region.

On the eve of the Third World Conference of Women’s Shelters on November 2, Asian delegates gathered at the Centrum Quadraat meeting room in the historic center of the Hague to discuss developments in shelter work in the region, progress toward building the economic capacity of survivors to find jobs and housing after they leave the shelters, and strategies to help migrant women and other marginalized groups be free of the fear of violence.

Some key issues which emerged in the meeting were:

  1. Economic empowerment: Well-funded employment, housing and community programs to help women after they leave the shelter to become independent.
  2. Housing and land: Give women equal property rights, rights to inheritance, affordable housing for survivors of domestic violence, and guarantee the property rights of widows.
  3. Sufficient funding for shelters.
  4. Create an environment where victims are able to report violations, seek justice, and speak out about abuse without fear of a lifetime of isolation so they are able to fully reintegrate into society.
  5. Law reform and implementation: Update outdated laws, properly implement progressive laws, and improve coordination across borders to protect vulnerable women and girls and bring justice to survivors of GBV.
  6. The government should address the lack of accountability systems within the public institutions.
  7. NGOs should collect data and case study stories to improve our services and make us more accountable, and to help make us more effective advocates for the human rights of women and girls.
  8. Full and equal protection of migrant women, especially domestic workers and marriage migrants.
  9. For disaster situations: Prepare for future disaster situations by making women part of the disaster relief process, and making the processes more accessible to women.
  10. The government should coordination between police, judiciary, hospitals other public institutions as well as civil society service providers to avoid need to re-apply, re-testify and re-live the trauma of abuse.
  11. The government should produce clear and published guidelines and protocols for public institutions to follow in cases of gender based violence.

Chi Hui-Jung

The chairperson of the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters, which organized the event, Chi Hui-Jung said Asia, as was the world’s most diverse region, could show the world how a strong network of different peoples can come together to help women and girls be free of violence and abuse.

Bandana Rana, chairperson of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters, said The Asian Network of Women’s Shelters grew out of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters. “It is one thing to have a strong network,” said Bandana, “but the important thing is what to do. It is still heartbreaking to see so many women and girls suffering from violence, abuse and even rape.”

Ivy Josiah, Former Executive Director, WAO Malaysia talked about ethnic tensions in Malaysia and problems with husbands converting to Islam and taking domestic violence cases to the Sharia court. Ivy also stressed how important it was for NGOs to collect data for advocacy and fundraising, and also to improve accountability: “We need documented and data-evidence proof work to convince people,” Ivy said.

Rabeea Hadi, Director of Advocacy and EVAW at Pakistan’s Aurat Foundation, said, “Economic empowerment is very important, especially for women who leave the shelter after 3-4 months and are left in no-man’s land.”

Mashuda Shefali

Mashuda Shefali

Chisato Kitanaka, Executive Director of the All Japan Women’s Shelter Network, presented the results of a comparative survey on Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia. She said Taiwan had the most complete shelter system, and was particularly impressed that social workers were employed in shelters in Taiwan, which is not possible in Japan.

Housing and land rights was another important issue. “Safe living means a house, tenureship and property rights of women,” said Mashuda Shefali, Executive Director NUK Bangladesh.


Monique Wilson

Monique Wilson, Director of the One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign said aside from the main theme of “Revolution”, the focus of the movement next year will be on marginalized women. Monique added, “Grassroots organizations have led OBR so far, so we need to give a platform to the people who are least visible in society.”

Lorraine Lim, Administrator and Counsellor the Star Shelter SCWO in Singapore said, “Many migrants do not know that domestic violence is a crime, let alone where to go to report it.” Her organization, the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) recommends residency rights could be sponsored by a relative or friend and not just the spouse of a migrant.

The ANWS board met during lunchtime and reported back to the conference in the afternoon, urging participants to sign up as members of ANWS on the website. On November 3, participants went on a study visit of the Hague city government and a local shelter for young pregnant women and mothers.

The conference was sponsored by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and organized in partnership with the Garden of Hope Foundation, the Asia Network of Women’s Shelters, the Global Network of Women’s Shelters, and the Third World Conference of Women’s Shelters.

2015 Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters Program

The Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters on November 2, 2015 is specially designed for Asian participants. The event will prepare delegates for 3WCWS and help build partnerships across Asia and provide a platform to build new alliances between shelter practitioners, NGO leaders, politicians and the business community. See here for more information about the speakers. The pre-conference is organized by the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters (ANWS) and the Garden of Hope Foundation with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan, and the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS).

Date: November 2, 2015 (Mon)
Time: 09:00-18:30
Venue: Centrum Quadraat, the Hague, the Netherlands

Time Agenda Speakers
08:30-09:00 Registration
09:00-09:05 Opening Ceremony and Introduction to guests
09:05-09:15 Opening Remarks Chi Hui-jung, Chairperson, ANWS;
Bandana Rana, Chairperson, GNWS;
H.E. Tom Tai-Chu Chou, Representative, Taipei Representative Office, Hague
09:15-09:20 Opening Ceremony and Introduction to guests  (Group photo)
09:20-09:30 Break
09:30-11:30 Workshop: Reflecting On and Honoring Shelter Work. Workshop leader: Kaili Lee, Research specialist, GOH
11:30-13:30 Lunch  (ANWS board meeting for members of the ANWS executive committee)
13:30-15:00 Theme 1: Empowering Women – Economic, Social and Human Rights Based Moderator: Chi Hui-jung, Chairperson, ANWS;
– Bandana Rana, Chairperson, GNWS;
– Mashuda Katun Shefali, Executive Director NUK Bangladesh “Economic empowerment and safe living environments for Bangladeshi women”
– Rabeea Hadi, Director of Advocacy and EVAW, Aurat Foundation, Pakistan “Minimizing VAW through seamless service of hubs and networks – a case study of Pakistan”
– Dr. Chisato Kitanaka, Executive Director, All Japan Women’s Shelter Network “Comparison of DV law between Taiwan and Japan”
15:00-15:30 Break
15:30-17:30 Theme 2: Focus on Marginalized Groups – Migrants and Migrant Workers Moderator: Monique Wilson, Director, OBR
– Ivy Josiah, Former Executive Director, WAO Malaysia “Shelter services in a cross cultural, multi ethnic and multi religious society”
– Lorraine Lim, Administrator and Counsellor, Star Shelter, SCWO, Singapore “Services for women in different culture and races in Singapore”
– Hsing-Ling Hsieh, Deputy Secretary-General, Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan
17:30-17:50 Close