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UNODC works to develop domestic violence prevention training module for Viet Nam police

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 7 May 2012
- One third of married women in Viet Nam have suffered domestic violence, according to a national study by the General Statistics Office of Viet Nam and the World Health Organization. Recognizing that police officers are in the frontline in the justice system's battle to prevent and protect against domestic violence, UNODC and Vietnamese experts are developing a domestic violence prevention training module for police to be taught at the national People Police Academy of Viet Nam.

"Teaching about domestic violence at police training institutions is an important step to protecting victims effectively, " says Mark Lalonde, international police training expert and main author of the UNODC Handbook on effective police response to violence against women. "A strong response to violence against women is a sign of a strong country, one that respects the rights of its citizens to live a life free of violence."

Over four days in April, Mr. Lalonde trained 20 Police Academy lecturers professors on how to teach the new domestic violence module. The workshop objective was both to learn about violence against women in the home and to improve police academy teaching skills.

"Viet Nam is developing fast and with this growth, the prevention of crime and the demands on the police will become more complex", said Mr. Lalonde. "Teachers need to be equipped with the newest training methodologies to ensure that future police officers are fully capable of tackling new challenges."

Police officers are in the frontline of the fight to prevent domestic violence against women. Often the first state responders to incidents of violence, police have a legal responsibility to protect the rights of women and girls, to ensure the safety of victims, and to facilitate justice for survivors. They are also role models. By acting against violence against women, police send an important message to society that this behaviour is not acceptable.

"Domestic violence has devastating effects on victims, families and society. The abused women have much to suffer and it is a priority of the Ministry of Public Security to enforce the laws on domestic violence," says Ms. Nhu Thi Minh Nguyet, Head of Women's Union of the General Department of Anti-Crime Police and Vice Director of the Political and Logistical Department.

A key part of UNODC's regional criminal justice response is the development of accountable, integrity-based criminal justice systems that address the needs of vulnerable people. This includes establishing measures that include training law enforcement to prevent violence against women.

In Viet Nam, UNODC collaborates with the Ministry of Public Security to increase law enforcement and justice sector capacity to better prevent and respond to domestic violence.

UNODC project "Strengthen the capacity of law enforcement and justice sectors to prevent and respond for domestic violence in Viet Nam (VNM/T28)" has trained up to 700 local law enforcement, social and judicial officers from four pilot provinces since 2010.

The project has also conducted a survey on the legal support available to domestic violence victims in Viet Nam and raised community awareness of domestic violence, and how it can be more effectively addressed, including through criminal proceedings.

The VNM/T28 project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the U.S. Department of State, the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDGF) through the UN-Government Joint Programme of Gender Equality, and the One Plan Fund (OPF) of the United Nations in Viet Nam.