Provincial officials visit the one-stop survivors’ centre to study ways to stop violence against women

Date: Monday, February 19, 2018

Author: Zohra Baig and Anam Abbas

Multan, Pakistan — Ten senior provincial Government officials have gained new ideas about how to stop violence against women and girls after visiting a centre helping female survivors of all forms of violence. UN Women arranged the exposure visit to promote the sharing of lessons and experiences in efforts to end the violence.

A group photo of all the participants of the exposure visit. Photo: UN Women/Shahzeb Baig
A group photo of all the participants of the exposure visit. Photo: UN Women/Shahzeb Baig

The officials from Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab Provinces visited the Violence against Women Centre in Multan District in Punjab from 31 October to 4 November 2017. They witnessed the gender-responsive facilities and services and discussed best practices and ways to replicate in other provinces this one-stop centre that include protection, prosecution, prevention, mediation, forensics, medical, legal and police services.

The Chairperson of the Women Parliamentary Caucus of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Miraj Humayun Khan, said she was grateful to UN Women for arranging the visit, “which allowed me to gain direct information on holistic gender-based violence response mechanisms for possible replication in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa”.

The Secretary of the Prosecutions Department of Balochistan, Aftab Baloch, said: “The exposure visit was a very productive experience to contextualize the learnings. We need to learn and relate the strengths, experiences and challenges faced in Punjab in order to address violence against women in other provinces.”

A delegation of UN Women, government officials and representatives visited the Violence Against Women Centre in Multan. Photo: UN Women/Shahzeb Baig
A delegation of UN Women, government officials and representatives visited the Violence Against Women Centre in Multan. Photo: UN Women/Shahzeb Baig

Said the Secretary of the Women Development Department of Sindh, Mudassir Iqbal: “Indeed, there are contextual differences and every public institution across provinces is making related efforts to address violence against women. To be proactive and prudent towards women human rights, there is a dire need to work rigorously on policies, justice system and service provisions.”

The Government of Punjab formally launched the centre in March 2017. According to Strategic Reforms Unit of Punjab, in the 10 months from April 2017 to January 2018, the centre handled 1,495 cases of violence against women. The majority of cases reported and handled were related to domestic violence (918 cases, or more than 61 per cent of total cases), followed by family cases (165), harassment (99) and criminal offences (71).

Briefing session with the administration of the Violence Against Women Centre in Multan. Photo: UN Women/Shahzeb Baig
Briefing session with the administration of the Violence Against Women Centre in Multan. Photo: UN Women/Shahzeb Baig

The Multan study visit was another step in UN Women Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate gender-based violence. From October 2016 to September 2019, UN Women Pakistan is collaborating with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in carrying out a project in five districts with high prevalence of violence against women and girls: Rawalpindi in Punjab; Khairpur, Karachi and Dadu in Sindh; and Quetta in Balochistan. The aim is to support provincial government efforts to stop the violence and increase survivors’ access to essential services.

For more information, please contact:

Anam Abbas
Communications Officer, UN Women Pakistan
Email: anam.abbas@unwomen.org