Two new one stop service centers for survivors of gender-based violence launched

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2020-06-17 18:59 GMT+8

ULAANBAATAR – Two new One Stop Service Centers (OSSC) for survivors of gender-based and domestic violence were launched in the Chingeltei and Sukhbaatar Districts of Ulaanbaatar by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (MOLSP). Under the project co-funded by the UNFPA, Swiss Development Agency and the Government of Mongolia

The back-to-back launches of the 2 new OSSCs were held on 16 June 2020 and were attended by Ms.N.Bayarmaa, Head of Division for Children, Youth, Elderly and Family Development of MOLSP, Ms.Sh.Ankhmaa, Deputy mayor of UB, Ms.N.Ulziikhutag, Director of Department for Child protection and family development of FCYDA and Ms.A.Iliza, UNFPA Mongolia Assistant Representative.

The 2 new Centers are established with the 470 mln MNT financial support of the “Combating Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia” Project co-funded by UNFPA, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Government of Mongolia to strengthen the country’s capacity to respond to and prevent gender-based violence (GBV), especially domestic violence (DV) and the district governments are also provided venue and funding for the staff to work at the OSSCs. With this 2 new centers are among the 11 OSSCs are established under the project support and now in total 17 OSSCs for Domestic Violence survivors supported by UNFPA is working throughout the country.

The Chingeltei and Sukhbaatar OSSCs in particular were established to respond to the sharp increase in GBV survivors seeking help since the government put in place stringent restrictions to control, contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. In the first quarter of 2020 when the restrictions were at their strictest, OSSCs supported by UNFPA saw an 87% increase in the number of clients compared to the same period in 2019. Similarly, the National Police Agency (NPA) reported a 27% decrease in reported domestic violence crimes which shows the increase in reports by public and result of public awareness raising interventions, domestic violence related misconduct increased by 62% which tells us that there is still a room for improvement for public awareness, change in attitude and strengthen the victim protection framework.

It is well-documented globally that GBV risks increase in emergency situations. In the Mongolian context, the COVID-19 pandemic and precautionary measures have led to a rise in psychological and financial stress among families, which creates tension in relationships that could escalate to abuse of partners and neglect of children.

“Nearly 57.9 % of Mongolian women have experienced some form of violence at the hands of their partners at least once in their lifetime, while 35% have suffered intimate partner violence in the last 12 months,” said UNFPA Mongolia Assistant Representative Iliza Azyei. “Emergency situations like the COVID-19 pandemic make it all the more difficult for these women to escape the violence and to seek help. We need to work even more tirelessly at this time to ensure that survivors all over the country will have continued and safe access to these life-saving services during this already difficult time.”

Ms.A.Iliza

To mitigate these growing risks, UNFPA has been working with the Government of Mongolia, fellow UN agencies, as well as donors such as the SDC and the Government of Japan to ensure continued access to GBV services during this time as well as to promote healthy coping mechanisms to help prevent GBV from happening altogether.

Aside from the establishment of these two OSSCs, UNFPA is also collaborating with MOLSP, Ministry of Health (MOH), and the National Center Against Violence (NCAV) to provide remote counselling and other services through 24/7 hotlines and other online channels. UNFPA together UNICEF also developed guidelines for OSSC staff on continued safe service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as guidelines for COVID-19 front-liners on basic GBV and violence against children detection and response. Dignity Kits (basic hygiene and sanitation kits) are being distributed to people in institutional quarantine as well as other vulnerable groups to provide much-needed supplies to maintain hygiene, self-confidence, and dignity in difficult circumstances as well as to reduce the risks of GBV, such as sexual exploitation in exchange for essential items. Finally, UNFPA has been working closely with the NPA in rolling out "Love Doesn't Hurt", a nationwide campaign against domestic violence.

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