Violence against women and girls is far too common in Myanmar. Thanks to support from the UK government, we're working to change that, by helping survivors of violence and challenging negative cultural attitudes.
Supporting survivors of violence
Here are three ways we're helping the victims of violence seek justice in Myanmar:
we've trained 60 community paralegals in basic legal skills including how to document evidence
we've helped our paralegals to link up survivors of violence with local legal aid providers so they can take action against the perpetrators
through our partner organisation – Legal Clinic Myanmar - we provide free legal aid to women who have survived violence.
Over the years more women have visited the legal clinic: in 2013 they recorded 13 cases of rape, and 22 more in 2014. They also receive an average of 15 domestic violence referrals a month from their legal aid helpline. The fact that more women are coming forward to use these services is encouraging.
Changing cultural attitudes towards womenThe UK Government has also supported our mission in Myanmar to change cultural attitudes so that violence against women is seen as unacceptable.
Here are two ways we have done this:
we've trained 20 male community leaders in cultivating zero tolerance policies toward violence among their male friends and colleaugues, through peer engagement
we've trained staff from various government departments, including the police force, on the implementation of laws and policies designed to prevent violence against women.
Lynne Featherstone visits our work in Myanmar
This week we're excited to have Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone visiting us to see what we're doing here to support women and girls in Myanmar. The projects she's visiting are part-funded by the UK Government.
Her visit comes at an exciting time. Myanmar has recently endorsed the UN Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, and its commitment to enacting anti-violence legislation.
And by travelling to visit our project, Lynne has helped publicly demonstrate the level of outside political interest there is in making sure women and girls can live their lives in peace and security.