GBV Hotline Minimum Standards Launched for Myanmar
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, UNFPA is launching the Myanmar Minimum Standards for Gender Based Violence (GBV) Hotlines (available in English and Burmese). The objective of the Minimum Standards is to establish a common understanding of what constitutes minimum phone-based support to GBV survivors in Myanmar. The 12 standards define what organizations delivering these services should prioritize to improve the quality of GBV hotline services and mitigate practices that may cause unintended harm to survivors and service providers.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted GBV service providers around the world to increasingly provide services through telephone-based hotlines and helplines. In Myanmar, service providers were also shifting to remote GBV service provision in response to COVID-19 public health restrictions when the military takeover took place in February. The combination of public health and security related concerns and movement restrictions continued to pose access challenges for survivors and service providers in 2021. In this context, GBV hotlines remain one important option whereby women, girls and other groups at risk can access to information and other types of services that they need remotely.
Successfully operating a GBV hotline requires that appropriate measures are in place to ensure the quality of services along with the safety and security of survivors and service providers.
“The need to ensure quality and survivor-centered approach for the GBV Hotline services has been highlighted by different stakeholders given the rapidly increasing trend of such services since 2020. Therefore, having these Minimum Standards is very timely and helpful for GBV partners operating or planning to operate GBV Hotlines. UNFPA, in close collaboration with the GBV sub-cluster in Myanmar, will promote the Minimum Standards for further dissemination and utilization.” - Eri Taniguchi, GBV Sub-Cluster Coordinator, UNFPA Myanmar
With support from the United Kingdom, UNFPA launched a process to develop Minimum Standards for GBV Hotlines in Myanmar in December 2020 through a consultation engaging national and international GBV actors working in Myanmar. The Minimum Standards were developed over the course of 2021 by a team of international and national experts to ensure that they are rooted in global best practices while also responsive to the specific needs and context of actors providing services in Myanmar. A series of consultations were undertaken in April and May involving 59 participants from 35 organizations from Kachin, Kayin, Southern Shan, Northern Shan, Rakhine, Chin, Yangon, Mon, and Sagaing. A final validation workshop was held in June.
“The UK is proud to have supported the development of Myanmar’s first Minimum Standards for GBV hotlines. This mark an important step towards more resilient, remote case management, and will be an essential tool for civil society and service providers to support survivors across the country.” Flo Carson, Social Development Adviser, FCDO Myanmar
The Minimum Standards are now available to support practitioners, organizations and donors to improve accessibility to GBV services for under-served populations (e.g. women and girls with disabilities, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual) and male survivors) compared to traditional service delivery points, to ensure accountability of GBV actors, to build trust between survivors and hotline staff and to ensure ownership and support of local communities.
"Women and girls with disabilities are more vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence. Even at their homes, they may experience rape or intimate partner violence. When they do, they may face many obstacles to access support and justice. Therefore, the rights of women and young persons with disabilities must be included in all process of GBV services. . . I feel empowered that I can provide the support through GBV Helpline and play a key role to end all forms of violence against violence against women and young people." GBV Hotline Operator
Additional guidance and Facilitators Manuals to support capacity building of GBV actors on Hotline operations are also available upon request from UNFPA. For related inquiries, please contact: Eri Taniguchi, firstname.lastname@example.org