Draft of Revised Law on Domestic Violence Control Receives Contributions From Experts

Vietnam is studying and consulting the development of a bill on gender transformation and another on the revision of the Domestic Violence Prevention and Control Law.

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Representatives from social and community-based organisations shared their activities in addressing domestic violence with the National Assembly Deputies in Hanoi on September 12. They also discussed mechanisms to join forces in tackling domestic violence for Vietnam.

Experts Contribute to Draft Revised Law on Domestic Violence Control
UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Naomi Kitahara speaks at the forum. Photo: UNFPA Vietnam

The discussion was part of the consultative workshop held by the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs in collaboration with the Centre for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender – Family – Women and Adolescents (CSAGA) to review the draft amended Domestic Violence Prevention and Control Law (DVPC Law).

The workshop, supported by UNFPA and the Government of Australia, placed high importance on the presentation made by the NA’s Committee for Social Affairs regarding the latest revision of the draft DVPC Law. The presentation took into account the comments provided by the National Assembly in June 2022.

Representatives from Vietnam’s Gender-based Violence (GBV) Net and CSAGA shared their expertise and best practices in domestic violence (DV) prevention and control. They highlighted innovative communication activities that effectively raise public awareness and address DV.

The participants were also informed about international experiences through a video message shared by ambassadors and heads of Delegations in Hanoi. This included representatives from Australia, Canada, the European Union, Spain, Sweden, and the United Nations.

During her address to the forum, Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Thuy of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs expressed gratitude for the valuable information and insights shared at the workshop. She particularly emphasized the importance of international experience and best practices in tackling domestic violence, citing Australia as an example. She highlighted Australia’s successful use of social organizations to provide services, the establishment of specialist courts for domestic violence cases, and the evidence-based approach to policy development.

Experts Contribute to Draft Revised Law on Domestic Violence Control
Vice Chairwoman of the NA’s Committee for Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kim Thuy. Photo: UNFPA Vietnam

The Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control was approved by the 12th National Assembly on November 21, 2007, and officially came into effect on July 1, 2008.

After nearly 15 years of enforcement, the law has successfully enhanced public awareness of domestic violence prevention and control. It has effectively protected victims, addressed instances of domestic violence and legal transgressions, and fostered greater gender equality within families.

Despite some notable achievements, domestic violence continues to be a pressing issue. The National Study on violence against women in Vietnam in 2019, conducted by Vietnam’s General Statistical Office and MOLISA, with support from Australia and UNFPA, revealed that there has been minimal improvement in addressing violence against women since the initial study in 2010. Specifically, a staggering 62.9% of women in Vietnam have experienced various forms of physical, economic, emotional, and/or sexual violence, as well as controlling behaviors, throughout their lives.

Moreover, a staggering 90.4% of survivors of violence did not seek assistance from authorities, with half of them never disclosing the abuse to anyone. This alarming prevalence of hidden domestic violence in society underscores the urgent need for action.

Experts Contribute to Draft Revised Law on Domestic Violence Control
Source: NDO

Given this, it is crucial to enhance the 2007 DVPC Law. Since October 2021, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has organized numerous technical meetings and consultative workshops to gather feedback from the public on the first draft of the Domestic Violence Prevention and Control Law. These gatherings have facilitated discussions on various options, exchange of experiences from other nations, and deliberation on the most suitable course of action for Vietnam.

The draft revised law consists of six comprehensive chapters encompassing a total of 62 articles. Its key areas of focus include robust measures aimed at preventing domestic violence, ensuring the protection and support of victims, establishing efficient coordination mechanisms, outlining the necessary conditions for implementing domestic violence prevention and control, as well as facilitating private sector engagement.

The amendment also emphasized the importance of providing essential and integrated services for domestic violence survivors. It called upon relevant stakeholders to prioritize and allocate sufficient financial and technical resources to support the effective implementation of the Law.

After the revised DVPC Law was presented during the third plenary session of the 15th National Assembly in June, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs have integrated all the feedback and comments to produce the final draft version comprising 56 articles.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, in collaboration with the National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs, is organizing two more consultative meetings in Vinh Phuc and Nha Trang in the coming weeks. These meetings aim to gather feedback and comments from the local authorities of the Northern and central provinces and cities in Vietnam.

UNFPA has been collaborating closely with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MoCST) throughout the revision process. We have provided both technical expertise and financial support to incorporate recommendations from various studies and to uphold international standards and commitments regarding the prevention and response to domestic violence.

In her opening remarks, Naomi Kitahara, the UNFPA Representative for Vietnam, emphasized the significance of the revised Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control. She highlighted that UNFPA is pleased to see that the law has been developed with a human rights approach, drawing from international experiences and best practices.

Experts Contribute to Draft Revised Law on Domestic Violence Control
Anh Duong House provides safe shelter and support services to battered women and their dependent children. Source: UNFPA Vietnam

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has recommended enhancing the efficacy of state institutions and fostering supportive environments for community-based and non-governmental organizations. These measures will enable them to actively contribute to the implementation of policies and programmatic interventions aimed at addressing domestic violence in Vietnam.

The survivor-centered approach has been implemented to prioritize the rights and well-being of domestic violence survivors. Their needs and voices have been thoroughly considered. This is particularly crucial in Vietnam, where violence against women is predominantly concealed.

CSAGA’s Founding Chairwoman and Director, Nguyen Van Anh, expressed her honor to participate in the discussion regarding the development of the 2007 Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control as a representative of social organizations. She is pleased to contribute to the amendment of this important law. Over the past 15 years, social organizations and non-governmental organizations have made significant contributions to the Government’s initiatives to eradicate domestic violence. The revision of the current Law will create favorable conditions for social and community-based organizations to actively engage in the Government’s efforts to prevent and control domestic violence.

Van Anh believes that CSAGA’s perspectives shared at this workshop will be taken into account and included in the draft amended Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control to enhance community-based activities in the future.

Hannah Nguyen