Community

Expand legal aid services to assist women victims.

November 25 is a day to renew commitments to end violence against women all over the world since 1981.

This chosen date commemorates the three Marabel sisters, who were political leaders brutally murdered by the government in the Dominican Republic in 1960.

Violence against women is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.

Jannie Lasimbang, ADUN Kapayan, said that based on a written reply by the Ministry of Community Development and People’s Wellbeing to her question at the Sabah State Assembly on 16 November, programmes to reduce violence against women will continue to be acted upon.

Between 2016 – October 2020, the police recorded a total of 1,307 cases of violence against women, with 218 cases in 2017, 242 cases in 2018, 319 cases in 2018, 309 cases in 2019 and 219 cases between January – October 2020.

The Ministry also replied that it is carrying out awareness programmes on the rights of women, roadshows on the 1994 Domestic Violence Act and other family-related programmes under its Department of Welfare Services Sabah.

Apart from that, its Women Affairs Department is providing legal aid services to women who are qualify for it. Jannie said that while this legal aid service is very important for women victims, many were turned down because the funding limitation of the service.

“As a commitment to women, the government in the upcoming budget should increase this service to reach out to more women, especially those who are poor” Jannie added.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging reports have shown that many forms of violence against women, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. In some severe cases, violence will result in death.

Violence against women is also strongly associated with suicides and suicide attempts. This evidence is from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women. There are a growing number of well-designed studies looking at the effectiveness of prevention and response programmes that Jannie said the Ministry could also look at.

In commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, many organisations has committed to a programme call 16 Day of Activism starting from 25 September until the 10 December, which is the United Nations Human Rights Day.

In 2019, the women’s wing of DAP Sabah successfully organized a Safety and Self-defence programme and the StopVAW fund-raising run. “This year, we will collaborate with NGOs and communities to spread awareness through webinars, eflyer campaigns on personal commitments, and a day of prayer and reflection for women facing violence during this pandemic”.

“The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women should remind us our need to fight all forms of violence, abuse, and injustices women face, and to raise our voices to end violence against women”

Janie Lasimbang

Press statement and image by Kapayan ADUN.

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