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More efforts needed to protect women, children

Violence against women and children is never acceptable, stressed United Nations (UN) agencies, the Government of Vietnam and partners during a campaign launch on Thursday.

Delegates share their views on women and children protection during the campaign launching ceremony. — VNS Photo Thu Trang

Launching a campaign to raise public awareness of the risks of violence against children and women, including in emergency situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the partners called for action to protect all victims.

The campaign, called Blue Heart, is the latest effort by Vietnam's Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and its long-term partners UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women along with international non-governmental organisations including Save the Children, Plan International, World Vision, ChildFund and others.

They want all members of society to speak up and report violent offences.

The campaign will also provide knowledge and skills to women and children to prevent violence and abuse and improve the mental health and psychological wellbeing of all those affected.

The Peace House, a shelter for women and girls who are victims of domestic violence and abuse under the Vietnam Women’s Union, has reported receiving twice as many people seeking shelter during the COVID-19 period.

“Violence occurs in rich and poor families and communities, in educated and less educated households. It’s never acceptable,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative.

“We urge the local authorities, communities, parents and the government to act to ensure the protection and safety of women and children,” she said.

Elise Fernandez Saenz, UN Women Representative in Vietnam, said: “No matter where violence happens, in what forms, and whom it impacts, it must be stopped. Strengthening services to respond effectively to violence against women and children during and after crisis, including COVID-19, will enhance the preparedness and response strategy of Vietnam.”

School closure affected more than 21 million children in Vietnam. Children’s reliance on online platforms for distance learning has also increased their risk of exposure to inappropriate content and online predators. Growing digitalisation magnifies children’s vulnerability to harm.

Dang Hoa Nam, director of the Children’s Affairs Department under the MoLISA, said the Government of Vietnam has paid attention to the negative impact the pandemic has had on the people and it has implemented emergency social protection measures to support those affected.

“Activities to protect children, to prevent violence, sexual abuse, online abuse and child injuries have been carried out during social distancing period when children stayed home or in quarantine centres,” he said.

The Blue Heart campaign is part of the Month of Action for Children, which is held in Vietnam in June every year.  VNS

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