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Students discuss domestic violence in Viet Nam

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 17 December 2009 -Following the recent broadcasting on national television of Breaking the Silence - an awareness-raising series on preventing domestic violence in Viet Nam - UNODC co-organized a discussion on domestic violence and the availability of services to victims. The event, which was hosted by the United States Government, took place at the US Embassy in Hanoi on November 27.

Along with other activities marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, the gathering aimed at raising awareness about the consequences of domestic violence and at providing information on services available to victims in Viet Nam.

Almost 120 participants attended the event and engaged in a lively discussion led by a panel of experts. Students from the Psychology Faculty and other related subjects made up the majority of the audience.

Poignant scenes from the television series were shown, followed by a discussion among the series' producer, Hoang Nhuan Cam, the main actress, Nguyen Diep Van, and experts in domestic violence prevention [I suggest deleting the following because we don't have everyone's names and it looks tacky to show that we can only identify one of the experts]. The discussion was moderated by Nguyen Van Anh, director of the Centre for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents (CSAGA), a leading non-profit organization involved in providing services and assistance to victims in Viet Nam.

At the end of the discussion, representatives of CSAGA and the Centre for Women and Development handed out leaflets on services available to victims of domestic violence, including information about hotline numbers, shelters and legal support.

One of the students had the courage to speak about her own experience with violence in the family: "My father was beating my mother for a long time. When she finally asked for divorce, I could not understand her and blamed her for separating the family. Only when I learned that there are many women with the same problem and even a new law on domestic violence, I started to see things differently and develop compassion for the difficult situation my mother had found herself in".

This story represented an encouraging example of increased understanding about the consequences of domestic violence. The positive reaction of the audience and the significant press coverage of the broadcasting of Breaking the Silence demonstrate how mass media can be successfully used to communicate positive messages, especially since such media are often able to reach younger generations and people living in rural areas.

For more information, please contact:

Nguyen Tuan Anh
National Project Coordinator
United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime
Tel: (+84 4) 3 942 1495 ext. 191