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Strengthening Women’s Leadership to Reduce Violence Against Women

Attempts to reduce violence and the impact of violence against women

The most destructive effect and cause of unequal gender relations and power distribution is violence against women. Violence against women often results in physical and mental ill-health as well as death. For poor women, violence impacts on their ability to overcome poverty by impacting on their ability to realise rights to security, adequate housing, health, employment, food, education and to participate fully in public life[1].

Over the past 13 years, the National Commission on Violence Against Women (KOMNAS Perempuan) has recorded 400,939 cases of violence against women (including forced marriage). However the Commission believes that the real figure is higher due to widespread underreporting[2]. Understanding the prevalence of violence against women is hindered by the absence of accurate data from around Indonesia. The statistics generated by the Commission and its local partners are one of the few sources available and are therefore critical to advocacy work.

While Indonesia has criminalised violence against women, the effective implementation of legal remedies is hindered by cultural norms that portray violence of this nature as a private matter. Even when violence is reported to the police, it is often not followed up. According to Rifka Annisa, a non-governmental organisation, only 10 per cent of domestic violence cases end up in court[3]. At the village level, women tend to report abuse to informal leaders and/or their village administrations. Most cases are solved through informal means under close custody of village officials who can disregard protective legislation[4].

The Indonesian government provides limited and uneven services for victims of violence. The Ministry of Social Welfare operates shelters and trauma clinics for victims of sex and labour trafficking and the National Police operate a number of integrated service centres, which provide medical services to survivors of violence. The government operates more than 500 district level women's help desks to assist women and child victims of violence. The government relies significantly on international organisations and non-government organisations for the provision of services. International Organisation for Migration (IOM), for example, assists with the running of the police integrated service centres. The government provides limited funding to domestic non-government organisations and civil society groups that support services for survivors[5].

Strategic planning by the National Commission on Violence Against Women identified five major workstreams that form the entry points for this program (i) Legal and policy reform; (ii) Services for the survivors of domestic violence; (iii) Education and research; (iv) Public awareness and participation; and (v) Monitoring and data collection.

[1].Irene Khan. Neither Violence against women or poverty are inevitable, Amnesty International. 2008.
[2]. Women still face high rates of sexual violence: Komnas, Jakarta Post, 28th November 2011, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/11/25/women-still-face-high-rate...
[3]. http://regional.kompas.com/read/2010/03/07/08354055/10.Persen.Kasus.KDRT...
[4].Gender Equality Policy Brief No 8, Violence Against Women: Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking, SMERU
[5]. 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report – Indonesia, United States Department of State, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4e12ee734b.html

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