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Social Development Ministry launches strategy to combat gender-based violence

By Rana Husseini - Jul 07,2014 - Last updated at Jul 07,2014

AMMAN — The Ministry of Social Development on Monday officially launched its three-year communication strategy to address gender-based violence in the country.

The strategy’s main aim is to work on prevention and focus on violence against women in particular. 

“Basically what we want is to have a baseline whereby any project for awareness or prevention should be based on what exists in Jordan such as services provided at the ministry’s Family Reconciliation Centre (FRC),” Social Development Minister Reem Abu Hassan said.

Abu Hassan, who was deputising for Her Majesty Queen Rania at the launch ceremony, added that “such procedures are based on a multi-disciplinary approach, which is translated into the services provided by various government institutes cooperating with the FRC.”

The 2014-2017 gender-based violence strategy is supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

Amer Hiasat, director of the social defence department at the ministry, stressed that Jordan has been working to address domestic violence since 1997 with the establishment of the first family protection unit, run by the police in cooperation with the ministry.“Now we have 12 family protection departments that include ministry offices in various governorates, and we opened the first women’s shelter in 2007, which is also when we started dealing professionally with violence against women,” Hiasat said in his address at the launch.

During the two-hour ceremony, a short film depicting gender-based violence and its effects on women and their families was screened.

“The film reflects what happens in real life in the event of a domestic violence incident in terms of what to do and where to go,” Abu Hassan told The Jordan Times after the conclusion of the launch ceremony.

The strategy depended on several national initiatives that aim at addressing domestic violence and providing various services for the abused as well as cases handled by the police-run Family Protection Department (FPD) over the years.

Researchers reviewed 1,651 cases that visited the FPD and decided to specify 592 of the total for a study that was used to develop the strategy, according to a ministry statement.

The study concluded that 86 per cent of domestic violence cases were physical.

It also indicated that males are the main perpetrators of family violence (92.1 per cent), with men aged between 29 and 48 representing 60.8 per cent of the total.

The study revealed that 80.4 per cent of the total male perpetrators had a secondary school degree or less.

Interviews with some victims revealed that many of the domestic violence cases involved jealousy or short temper on the part of the perpetrator. Other causes were financial constraints, gambling and drug or alcohol abuse.

Activities within the ministry’s strategy will include preparing brochures and media campaigns to combat gender-based violence.

The strategy will also serve as a policy document of cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organisations dealing with this issue and “to push this issue to become a priority always for decision makers”, the ministry said.

In addition, it will work on amending “the misconceptions or religious teachings that are being used as an excuse to justify violence against women”.

The strategy will also unify the terminology used in describing violence by developing a glossary to be used by the media, and document cases of gender-based violence as well as success stories.

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