Commonwealth unveils initiative to stamp out domestic violence

The Commonwealth is launching an initiative to help member states tackle domestic violence, which it said remained a “stubborn stain” on communities, disproportionately impacting women.

The “Peace in the home” programme will include toolkits to help governments across the Commonwealth involve multiple agencies — such as schools, doctors and hospitals, as well as government — and law enforcement agencies to work together effectively, and will help countries highlight and share details of initiatives that had been particularly successful at dealing with domestic violence.

There will also be a mentoring programme for women, and an initiative to address the issue of violence around elections and politics. The programme, which is being launched on Women’s Day, will continue through till 2018, when there is expected to be an accord on ending domestic violence in the Commonwealth.

“When we understand that 38% of women murdered globally were killed by an intimate partner, this should shock us all into action,” Baroness Patricia Scotland, who took over as Commonwealth Secretary General last year, said in a statement. “The Commonwealth initiative will build a coalition of governments, businesses, human rights institutions, civil society and individual citizens to choral our efforts to address domestic violence.”

She added that the secretariat would also launch an initiative to map the economic cost of domestic violence in Commonwealth countries, as well as focus on strengthening laws protecting women and girls across the group.

She pointed to the legal resource book on domestic violence — setting out what constitutes violence against women and the intersection of national and international human rights laws — piloted by the Secretariat in East Africa last year, and said that there were plans to roll it out across the rest of the Commonwealth.

Baroness Scotland has made tackling violence against women, which the UN estimates one in three women has suffered from in one form or another, a priority since taking office. She has set the aim of seeing domestic violence in member states fall by “double digit percentages”.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 11:38:14 AM |

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