UN supporting development of National Policy and Strategy on GBV Prevention and Response in Ethiopia
UN Women Ethiopia is supporting the development of a National Policy and Strategy on gender-based violence (GBV) Prevention and Response in Ethiopia.
UN Women Ethiopia in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs (MoWSA) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) organized a high-level capacity building workshop for the standing committees of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (Parliament) on both the draft national policy and strategy on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC).
Members of the committees, including Women and Children/Social Affairs Standing Committee and Legal and Justice Standing Committee and Women Caucus Executive Committee of the House took part in the workshop held from 24-25 September 2022.
The aim of the workshop was to advocate for the adoption and effective implementation of the policy/strategy and strengthen accountability on the prevention and response of VAWC and sensitize members of the parliament on the draft policy and national strategy on VAWC while strengthening accountability on the prevention and response of VAWC.
According to the latest Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS 2016), at least one out of every three women in Ethiopia has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, by an intimate partner, and nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of women have at some point in their lives experienced physical violence. Only 10 percent of the women have experienced sexual violence. The same study also shows high rates of under-reporting (66 percent) by women and girls who experienced violence.
In response to the need for prevention and provision of coordinated assistance to women and children’s survivors of violence, a National Coordinating Body (NCB) comprised of members from government ministries, UN agencies and relevant civil society organizations was formed under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The formation of this NCB with components of both prevention and response to violence against women and girls (VAWG) is instrumental to effectively prevent violence against women and girls and ensure provision of standard essential services across all sectors including justice, health care and social services.
Under the leadership of MoJ and the NCB, a national five-year strategy (2021/22-2026) on prevention and response to violence against women and children (VAWC) has been developed with the support of UN Women and UNICEF. The overall goal of the strategy is to enable women and children enjoy their rights without fear of violence, strengthen reporting mechanisms and support services to survivors of VAWC.
To address the multitude of challenges in preventing and responding to VAWG, the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs (MOWSA) in collaboration with UN Women and other stakeholders initiated and supported the development of a comprehensive national Policy on GBV prevention and response. The policy aims to protect vulnerable population and ensure the respect of their human rights. It will also serve as an overarching normative framework based on which various laws, strategies and guidelines could be derived from.
During her opening remarks on the first day of the workshop, Ms. Kimya Jundi, Chair of Women’s Caucus, House of People’s Representatives noted that despite commendable efforts being made to address violence against women and girls in Ethiopia, there are still issues that contribute to increasing the vulnerability of women and girls to violence. When the response to violence against women and girls is undertaken in a coordinated manner, it contributes to building a society that is safe and protected from violence, she added.
Ms. Alemitu Omud, State Minister, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, opening the second day of the workshop, mentioned gaps in laws and regulations in addressing GBV that necessitate development of a policy. She also expressed her conviction that parliamentarians who are members of various standing committees will provide inputs to enrich the draft.
UN Women Ethiopia will continue to work with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs and other stakeholders on the adoption and implementation of the national GBV prevention and response policy and the five-year national Violence against Women and Children strategy.