Norwegian government provides support to UNDP

28 Nov 2011

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The Government of Norway signed on 23 November an agreement worth $345,000 with the United Nations Development Programme for its Family Support, Justice and Security Programme. The funding will be used to enhance the capacities of Iraqi civil society organisations to provide legal assistance to vulnerable communities in Iraq, with a particular focus on women and children survivors of gender based violence as well as early and forced marriages. This support will be provided through family protection centres which are being established throughout the country.

One in five women in Iraq aged 15-49 experienced physical violence at the hands of their husbands. 14% of women who suffered physical violence were pregnant at the time. 33% have suffered emotional violence including insults, threats and public humiliation and 83% have been subjected to controlling behaviour by husbands including limiting access to medical care.

"With this partnership with UNDP and other donors like Denmark we hope we will be able to make a difference in the lives of survivors of gender based violence in Iraq" said Egil Thorsas, Deputy Head of the Norwegian Embassy in Baghdad.

UNDP established its Family Support, Justice and Security Programme in 2010 in partnership with the Government of Iraq and various civil society groups. Based on the model of a similar programme in Jordan, it aims to offer survivors of domestic and gender based violence both refuge and support. The project enhances the capacity of institutions to establish family protection centres to improve law enforcement and increase access to justice.

"We are extremely grateful to the Norwegian Government for their support to this important project said Peter Batchelor, Country Director of UNDP Iraq. "With this contribution, more women and children survivors of violence will have increased access to legal justice, and the necessary support they need to integrate back into their communities and continue living a normal life," he added.

The UNDP ‘Family Support, Justice and Security’ programme seeks to build the capacity of key decision makers and technical specialists in their efforts to support survivors of gender based violence.

The programme supports the Government of Iraq to formulate effective policies in relation to newly established Family Protection Directorates in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region.

Under this programme, educators, parliamentarians and ministry staff will receive capacity building training to formulate effective policies on violence against women and children. Staff at the Family Protection Directorates will receive training to ensure that survivors receive the legal counselling, psycho-social and medical assistance they need. Police at the Family Protection Units will be trained on case handling and forensics while social and health workers will receive technical training on providing counselling services.

Linkages will be enhanced between the Family Protection Directorates, civil society organisations active in areas of gender based violence, media, communities and religious leaders. The Programme started on 1 April 2010 and is due to end on 31 March 2013.