29 June 2017 - Governments, civil society and the United Nations in Asia and the Pacific are strengthening the roll-out and implementation of an essential services package to urgently address and respond to gender-based violence against women and girls.
Globally, one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. According to UNFPA's 2016 Regional Snapshot on prevalence of violence against women in the Asia-Pacific region, between 15 percent to 68 percent of women have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence, or both, by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
With a view to addressing that problem, more than 100 delegates representing a range of government and civil society partners from a dozen countries are attending a three-day meeting in Bangkok this week, jointly convened by UNODC, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Essential Services Package for Women and Girls Subject to Violence, developed jointly by UNFPA, UN Women, UNODC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and WHO, provides concrete guidance for health, social, police and justice services, as well as to overall governance and coordination, based on internationally agreed standards. This package is being piloted in ten low- to middle-income countries in Asia-Pacific and other regions. It represents a key tool for countries seeking to meet their international commitments to tackle violence against women and girls, including under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and women's empowerment.
Building on its expertise and experience in crime prevention and criminal justice responses to violence against women, UNODC has joined forces with the other UN entities in supporting countries to meet these common goals. A Joint UN Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence is being established to ensure that essential services are provided to victims and survivors, by bringing together key sectors, including the police, the legal and justice system, social services and health in a coordinated manner.
On that point, Jeremy Douglas, Regional Representative of UNODC for Southeast Asia and the Pacific said: "We've developed guidance and assisted countries to provide essential services through the programme," adding: "The package provides a range of tools and helps strengthen the capacity of police, justice and health service providers to work together, and to address violence against women from different perspectives."
UNODC currently supports 20 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America in strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice system responses to violence against women and gender-related killing of women and girls. Such responses include more efficient laws and policies and enhanced capacity to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish related crimes, to provide access to justice and legal aid and to assist and protect victims and witnesses. UNODC also provides legal and policy advice, training and capacity building, based on international standards and norms, in coordination with UN entities, civil society and other partners.