ANWS statement on the review of the Beijing Platform for Action

ANWS statement on the review of the Beijing Platform for Action

The review of the Beijing Platform for Action 20 years after it was passed in 1995 is a huge opportunity for us to highlight what has been achieved in the last two decades and examine the remaining challenges to attaining full gender equality.

Legislation to protect women against violence and proper funding for shelters were both part of the Beijing Platform for Action.

In the last 20 years many Asian countries have made great progress by passing legislation on domestic violence and providing funding for shelters. But, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters, law reform and proper implementation of the law is still needed, and governments must spend more money to help shelters provide the necessary support to help survivors of violence rebuild their lives.

1. Domestic Violence Law Reform and Proper Enforcement
The Beijing Platform for Action calls for reform of gender-insensitive laws and proper enforcement of existing laws related to violence against women (paragraphs 118, 121, 124(g)).

In the last 20 years, many Asian countries have passed legislation to protect victims of domestic violence such as the Domestic Violence Act in Nepal and the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act in India.

Despite these positive steps, there are still major problems with both the content and the implementation of these laws. An ANWS survey of nine Asian countries/areas conducted in 2013 found that although all nine countries/areas have a specific law to combat domestic violence, in eight cases the law is not properly implemented and/or needs to be reformed.

ANWS calls on governments to reform existing laws on domestic violence which do not properly protect women and girls; and strengthen law enforcement and application to achieve dignity and justice for women and girls who are subjected to domestic violence.

2. Decent Funding for Shelters
The Beijing Platform for Action calls for “well-funded shelters and relief support for girls and women subjected to violence”, which includes medical, psychological and other counselling services, legal aid, and other welfare support (paragraph 125(a)).

Despite this demand, funding for shelter services in Asia is woefully inadequate. Only three out of the nine countries/areas in our survey reported that government funding for shelters was “significant”. ANWS members in four countries reported insufficient or minimal funding, and two countries reported no government funding whatsoever.

Even in the three countries/areas which enjoy significant government funding, two put high operation costs and financial pressure at the top of their list of challenges. Another problem is the fact that government funding for shelters is often granted on a project-by-project basis, so when the project ends, the funding stops and the shelter closes.

ANWS calls on governments to fulfill their responsibility to provide sufficient and sustainable funding for shelters and other relief support mechanisms for women and girls who are survivors of violence.

#NoExcuseForAbuse

TbwaWD2-0599 copyWOMEN’S Aid Organisation, Malaysia (http://www.wao.org.my/) launched a nationwide public education programme called #NoExcuseForAbuse to raise awareness on domestic violence in March.

Through this campaign, they targeted the earlier phase of domestic abuse before it snowballs. Especially, they were reaching out to those who are in doubt, who are questioning whether things are going right in their relationships.

There were four parts to the campaign, including an installation art exhibition, pledge of support, SMS helpline and radio public service announcements.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day, the exhibition features a display of blouses with hand-stitched words representing the voices of survivors

They also launched an SMS helpline called TINA (Think I Need Aid) and details were included on each of the blouses.

img2395 img2602

TINA was created to reach out to victims of abuse who may not want to make phone calls and feel more comfortable sending a text message as there was more anonymity.

During the event, #NoExcuseForAbuse T-shirts were given out to the public.

img2295

ANWS presents at the UN Commission on the Status of Women NGO Forum in New York

Speakers at panel “Asia-Pacific Shelters: Going the Second Mile with Advocacy and Service Work”: from left Julie Oberin, Margaret Augerinos, Zoe Chi, Bandana Rana, Kristen Liu, Anthony Carlisel. (Not pictured: Alena Victor)

Speakers at panel “Asia-Pacific Shelters: Going the Second Mile with Advocacy and Service Work”: from left Julie Oberin, Margaret Augerinos, Zoe Chi, Bandana Rana, Kristen Liu, Anthony Carlisle. (Not pictured: Alena Victor)

The Asian Network of Women’s Shelters and the Oceania Network of Women’s Shelters held a forum at the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on the topic of “Asia-Pacific Shelters: Going the Second Mile with Advocacy and Service Work” early in the morning on Monday, March 10, 2014.

 

IMG_2432The speakers were Bandana Rana, President of Saathi, Nepal and Chair of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters; Anthony Carlisle, International Affairs Supervisor at the Garden of Hope Foundation, Taiwan (which is the secretariat of ANWS); Kristen Liu, Executive Director of Garden of Hope New York; Alena Victor, Assistant Director of Shelters at the New York Asian Women’s Center; Margaret Augerinos, CEO, Centre for Non-Violence, Australia; Julie Oberin, CEO of the Annie North Women’s Refuge, Australia; and Ivy Josiah, Executive Director, Women’s Aid Organisation, Malaysia. The meeting was moderated by Chi Hui-Jung, CEO of the Garden of Hope Foundation, Taiwan and chair of ANWS.
The Asia-Pacific is the most diverse region in the world. Differences in shelter services are as wide as the cultural and economic divides. Some countries do not have the legal framework to protect women from domestic violence (DV) let alone the welfare structure to provide sufficient shelter support; while other countries are working on better shelter management and follow-up services.

The panelists discussed the current status of women’s shelters in the Asia-Pacific, looking at issues such as the link between advocacy and shelter work in South Asia, support services to help survivors become economically empowered in North Asia, and resources and services for Asian migrant women in New York. Continue reading

Give Her a Shelter, Stop Violence Against Women

2013ACWS Group Photos-2

Establishment of Asian Network of Women’s Shelter

Almost 200 hundred delegates participated in the 2013 Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters organized in Kaohsiung from December 2 – 3, 2013, where the establishment of the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters was announced. The overseas delegates were from 11 countries (including Japan, Singapore, Nepal, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, etc.) The Garden of Hope Foundation hosted the 2013 Asian Conference of Women’s Shelters. In addition to discussing the situation of shelters (in terms of advocacy, services, policies etc.), different needs of battered women in the process of their life reconstruction was discussed.

1422522_546548178755037_2126727004_n (1)

From the survey conducted by Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) of more than 44 countries and 121 shelters, it is found that 8,148 women worldwide were turned away from shelters due to lack of resources, 77% of shelters do not have enough government funding, 68% lack financial security, 68% of shelters are forced to operate shelters giving low wages to employees, 50% of shelters cannot find professional staff, while 25% of shelters use volunteers who are committed to maintaining the shelter. In current situations, many shelters face challenges in sustaining long-term! Continue reading