Call 161 For Help

Image: Stanap Strong Akensem Vaelens Vanuatu

The national launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign will be held in Port Vila today, Wednesday November 25 2020.

A Silent March will be held from Anchor Inn at 8.30am, followed by the official opening of the Campaign and the Vanuatu Women’s Centre 161 Toll-Free Helpline for victims and survivors of domestic and gender-based violence by the Director of the National Disaster Management Office at Seafront Stage at 9.15am.

The Silent March is a show of solidarity where women, men, boys and girls can unite to stand against gender-based violence in the home, community, workplace and public spaces.

It brings together people from all faiths, sectors and diverse backgrounds to show their supporting for ending violence against women and girls in Vanuatu.

The Toll-free line initiative has brought together Government, the private sector and civil society through the OGCIO, TRBR, Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Vanuatu Women’s Centre, Digicel and Vodaphone.

“The launch of the 161 Toll-Free Helpline is a landmark in Vanuatu and a demonstration of strong partnership between public and private sectors to achieve our National Sustainable Development Plan objectives by ending violence against women and girls,” said Director General of the Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Dorosday Kenneth Watson.

Research conducted by the Vanuatu Women’s Centre and Vanuatu National Statistics Office has identified that in Vanuatu, 60 percent of women aged 15-49 experience physical and/or sexual violence, 68% experience emotional violence and 69% experience coercive control by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Tatavola Matas, Acting Coordinator of the Vanuatu Women’s Centre commented, “From July 2016 to May 2019, 51% of the clients who accessed VWC services were women aged between 18 and 29 years old.

This shows that violence increasingly happens to young women, compared to older women aged 30 and over. The 161 Helpline makes it easier to provide services to people affected by violence through a free call which links them to trained counsellors who can provide information, counselling and referral to the services they need”.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is run globally to raise awareness and advocate for ending violence against women and girls.

The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

In Vanuatu, activities will be held at national and provincial levels across the 16 Days Campaign in partnership with Government, NGOs, faith-based organizations, chiefs, civil society and communities.

The official launch of the 16 Days of Activism is supported by the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership), funded primarily by the European Union, and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, and UN Women, and is led by the Pacific Community (SPC), UN Women and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Through Pacific Partnership, UN Women works with the Department of Women’s Affairs, Vanuatu Women’s Centre and Vanuatu Christian Council to promote gender equitable social norms at individual and community levels to prevent violence against women and girls.

The Pacific region has some of the highest rates of violence against women recorded in the world – twice the global average with an estimated two in every three Pacific women impacted by gender-based violence. Along with high rates of violence – a grave human rights violation — women and girls in the Pacific region experience constant and continual inequalities including low levels of participation in decision-making, limited economic opportunities, and restricted access to critical services and rights.

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