UN Women helps upgrade facilities and services in support of women and children amid COVID-19

NDO – Essential equipment and facilities worth around VND1.5 billion have been handed over to upgrade the hotlines and facilities of related social services and three Peace House shelters in Hanoi and Can Tho, aiming at supporting women and children suffering from gender-based violence amid COVID-19.
The equipment and facilities handed over to safe shelters in Hanoi and Can Tho at a ceremony on March 15, 2021. (Photo: UN Women in Vietnam)

The UN Women in Vietnam held the handover ceremony on March 15, with support from the Australian Government.

The assistance is under the joint project of Supporting Interventions to Eliminate Violence against Women and Children in Vietnam under COVID-19 Emergency Context, sponsored by the Australian Government with technical support of UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF.

Elisa Fernandez Saenz, Representative of UN Women in Vietnam, said that the event is a clear example of the UN agency’s joint effort to contribute to the COVID-19 Response of the Vietnam government, especially in ending violence against women and children and safeguarding the continuity of essential services and their safety in the event of a lockdown or restricted mobility to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

In parallel with providing basic equipment and facilities, UN Women have supported to build capacity for social workers in charge of the hotlines and Peace House shelters to respond to the surge of violence against women and children in the COVID-19 pandemic, which is named the Shadow Pandemic, the UN official added.

Andrew Barnes, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy in Vietnam expressed his gratitude and appreciation towards the hotline staff and social workers of the Peace House Shelters, who has been working relentlessly to support women and children who are survivors of violence.

Through the project, Australia has been able to play a role in supporting Vietnam to provide safety and help meet the basic needs of women and children survivors of violence, he said, while commending the frontline staff in this effort.

Duong Ngoc Linh, Director of the Centre for Women and Development responsible for the Peace House shelters, said the equipment and facilities would help her staff and the temporary residents of the Peace House shelters feel safer during the pandemic context, contributing to the completion of the essential service packages for women and children survivors of gender-based violence, especially in the crisis context of the COVID-19.

The hotlines and the Peace House shelters are parts of the Centre for Women and Development, managed by Vietnam Women’s Union, offering comprehensive and free shelter services up to six months for women and children suffering from domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking.

Since the establishment, the hotlines and the Peace House shelters have provided counselling support for 9,043 people; rescued, received and provided direct support for 1,361 women and 560 children in temporary residence. The Peace House shelters have also coordinated with local authorities to provide on crisis/emergency counselling. Women and children experiencing violence can call the hotline at 1900969680 for timely support.