International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women & Girls

UN and the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) commemorate the International Day for the Elimination Violence against Women and Girls with focus on Ending Family Violence & Making it everyone responsibility

BEIJING, Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As the world marks the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, the UN System in China joins the Government of China in calling for everyone to work together to address the scourge of domestic violence in families.

Domestic violence continues to be a global pandemic, with up to 70 per cent of women experiencing violence in their lifetime. This year the focus will also be on the impact of violence within the family, especially on children, who often bear the brunt of being exposed as well as victims of domestic violence. 

In China, once considered a "family matter", the issue of domestic violence has received growing attention, especially given increased media reporting on individual cases. Evidence clearly demonstrates that domestic violence can have a devastating impact in the family. Violence against women and girls is rooted in and reproduces power imbalances between women and men in family and society.

Anyone may be a victim of domestic violence, but some groups are more vulnerable including women, children, persons with disabilities and the elderly. Collectively, domestic violence and abuse of women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities committed by intimate partners and/or caregivers in the home is defined as family violence. Children who grow up witnessing and experiencing violence can perpetuate this cycle when they become adults.

"Violence within a family has terrible consequences not just for those individuals, but also on the larger community and within society as a whole. Global evidence clearly demonstrates the impact of domestic violence can have major financial, social and emotional costs that can lead to long term damage," said Alain Noudehou, the UN Resident Coordinator in China . "Yet we know that violence within a family can be prevented. By changing social norms and ending gender discrimination, to empowering families with better coping strategies to manage daily pressures, to making sure we have strong laws and protection mechanisms, we can address it, if all stakeholders are engaged."

Currently, 125 countries around the world have laws that criminalize various forms of family violence. In China, the Family Violence Law, which has been drafted and awaiting final passage through the National People’s Congress, would provide comprehensive national legislation on family violence.

The UN Inter-Agency Task Force, which was set up in May 2012, has been working with the Government of China on the drafting of the legislation that intends to provide comprehensive protection for all forms of family violence, including all forms of physical, mental, and sexual abuse or neglect within a family. Technical assistance from within the UN and global experts has focused on how to include protection and assistance to survivors, to punish and rehabilitate perpetrators, as well as highlight the different practices countries have adopted to ensure the respect, protection and fulfillment of the rights of survivors of family violence in national court proceedings and the ensuing rehabilitation and integration services. 

The International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women (EVAW) held every year on the 25th November and first adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1999, is a day for everyone to work together in a concerted manner to raise awareness, challenge cultural norms that harm women and children, provide support for violence survivors, and advocate for the adoption and implementation of comprehensive laws to protect them.

To commemorate the day, the All China Women’s Federation, (ACWF), in partnership with the UN Inter Agency Task Force against Family Violence, will host a special media event with experts that will seek to highlight the situation in China, and build momentum to prevent it.  

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