Domestic violence in Vietnam: context, forms, causes, and recommendations for action
The focus is on domestic violence in Vietnam, particularly the violence of husband against their wives within marriage. Domestic violence has recently resurfaced as a serious problem in Vietnam since the advert of the Doi Moi (renovation) process, which began in December 1986.Domestic violence against women is a world-wide problem, occurring in developed and developing countries alike, and in families across all layers of society. It is not a new problem, but recognition of its extent and serious impact is new and growing. Until recently, this topic has received limited serious research attention, due to its social sensitivity and the dearth of quantitative and qualitative information available. In the past few years, studies in many countries have helped place this issue before citizens and policymakers. At the same time, slowly but certainly, best practice ways of addressing it successfully are being identified. This study on Vietnam is part of a broader research project on Gender and Development being undertaken by the World Bank in several countries around the world. In October 1998, we held consultations in Hanoi with the leading gender specialists in Government, civil society and donor organizations to discuss important gender issues in Vietnam. During these consultations, domestic violence was identified as a topic that urgently merited more research. Thus, it was decided that a study on this topic would serve as one of two case studies on Vietnam to be used in the Bank’s global Gender Report. From the beginning, it was envisaged that the study would build upon the excellent research done by Population Council (1998), as well as on other research data produced by the Women’s Union (1997) and the Center for Family and Women’s Studies (1992, 1999). Three researchers of the Institute of Sociology in Hanoi were commissioned in March 1999 to undertake the study. Dr. Vu Manh Loi, researcher in the Family Sociology Department of the Institute, acted as the lead researcher. Dr. Vu Tuan Huy, director of the same Department, and Dr. Nguyen Huu Minh, researcher, were full team members. In addition, Ms. Jennifer Clement, an independent consultant, assisted the team in defining the study’s design and methodology, and in the final write-up of the study. We are grateful to CIDA for their financial support in publishing and disseminating the study. The study aims to shed light in particular on: a) community and institutional attitudes towards gender-based violence in the family, and b) individual, community, legal and institutional responses to domestic violence. The study is largely qualitative, although a modest quantitative survey was part of the research. We hope that this work may be helpful in raising awareness among decision makers and the general public, in bringing about necessary policy and program changes, and in changing behavior at the personal level.
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