Public Authorities in Cahul municipality implement concrete actions to eliminate and address gender-based violence
Local public authorities in Cahul joined the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign
In the Republic of Moldova, the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a higher number of violence cases against women. According to statistics provided by ‘La Strada’ International Centre, since the outbreak of the pandemic, the number of women who have reported violence increased by 35%. In this regard, women survivors of violence need more support, such as access to health care, as well as legal, psychological financial support. This year’s ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ Campaign, with the theme ‘End violence against women now!’ focuses on the importance of violence prevention, as well as the availability of services for violence survivors, which are essential in the context of COVID-19.
This year, local public authorities in Cahul joined again the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign by promoting the principles of gender equality and elimination of violence against women and girls. The EVA project – ‘Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts’ supports local public authorities to adapt their local policies and budgets to be inclusive, to respond to the needs of all social groups, including women and girls, and also to implement practical actions to reduce gender gaps as soon as possible. In this regard, women’s development and empowerment programs have been implemented, also initiatives aiming to help women survivors of domestic violence to integrate socio-economically through employment, to launch a business idea or to register with the National Employment Agency. Women’s Clubs have been also established in several communities in Cahul district, where women can benefit from personal development, vocational counselling, support in launching business ideas, support in identifying partners to encourage social entrepreneurship.
In the context of the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign, a press briefing was held on Friday, 3 December 2021 at ‘Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu’ State University in Cahul, with the participation of local public authorities of Cahul and the Ambassador of the European Union in the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks, UN Women Representative to Moldova, Dominika Stojanoska and UNICEF Representative to Moldova, Maha Damaj.
The host of the event, Mayor Nicolae Dandiș, mentioned how important it is to show solidarity during this difficult period and to mobilise ourselves in order to implement many activities aiming to eliminate gender-based violence. He also reiterated the importance of gender equality in society and of gender mainstreaming in local policies and budgeting in order to increase the opportunities for women and men to benefit from equal rights and participate actively in the community life: ‘We have started adapting the strategic documents, and Cahul LPA committed to allocate 2% of the budget annually for the implementation of concrete actions to address violence against women and girls and ensure gender equality.’
Gender equality is a core value for the European Union, which is also one of the most important donors for projects and programs supporting violence survivors. Ambassador of the European Union in the Republic of Moldova, Jānis Mažeiks, mentioned that: ‘The fight against violence has always been difficult, especially nowadays, during an emergency situation like the one we are encountering. The pandemic has only worsened the inequalities around the world. The restrictions have increased the number of abuses, the number of situations leading to violence against girls and women. The European Union supports the survivors of gender-based violence through different programs, such as EVA, moreover, other two projects are to be implemented in these regions soon. Cahul is a pioneer in the fight against corruption, and now it is a champion in preventing and addressing gender-based violence’.
Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Representative to Moldova, highlighted that ‘Violence against women is the most spread form of violence that exists and statistics data prove this. During the crisis, the number of women suffering from violence increases up to 70%. Almost in all parts of the country, there are girls or women that suffer and are at risk. Many of them have suffered from violence for many years, some from a very young age and it is the right moment now to mobilise our efforts and support them, listen to them. These situations must end as soon as possible. We have to listen to these women and to take concrete actions, similar to what we are doing here in Cahul and in other regions of the country.’
Violence causes violence and has long-term consequences for both children and society in general. Thus, education is a key element in solving this problem. Statistics in the Republic of Moldova show that one in four girls has been subjected to physical violence by the age of 18. And three in four children aged 2-14 years are subjected to at least one form of violence from their parents. ‘There is a series of conventions that urge to eliminate violence against children by 2030, which means that we have less than 10 years to achieve this goal. As guardians of these conventions, we need to engage at all levels, make global alliances, cooperate at central and national levels, across all sectors: healthcare, justice, civil society, media, etc., to anticipate and respond promptly to cases of violence against children. When working with children, we support parents and caregivers through positive parenting programs, we continue to make constant efforts to eliminate those harmful behaviours and social norms and to promote safe environments’, said Maha Damaj, UNICEF Representative in Moldova.
The role of the police is to prevent and respond to all types of crimes, including gender-based violence. This year, Cahul Police Inspectorate joined again the campaign by informing and discussing with citizens. Members of the Police Inspectorate distributed leaflets and promotional materials during the event to encourage people to report violence. Sergiu Costandache, Deputy Head of Cahul Police Inspectorate was grateful for the given opportunity to participate in the event and to emphasise the support of the Police towards victims of violence. ‘Violence is one of the most serious crimes and we, the Police, want to join the campaign and reiterate our willingness to fight against this phenomenon in Cahul.
We encourage the population to trust us because we are here to help and support you, and we encourage women and girls who are victims of violence to not tolerate physical abuse and to report immediately, calling 112 single emergency number’
The event was accompanied by a concert of social importance performed by the Moldovan National Youth Orchestra, conducted by Andriano Marian, aiming to support and encourage women and girls to enjoy a bright future, a future of equal opportunities.
This event is part of the ‘Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts’ EVA project, funded by the European Union and implemented by UN Women in partnership with UNICEF. Its content is entirely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.
The ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence’ campaign kicks off annually on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. The global theme of the campaign in 2021 is ‘End violence against women now!’.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org