Bahrain commemorates International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain's commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women reflects the magnitude of the kingdom's achievements, efforts and commitments to protect women and raise awareness for ending violence against women worldwide.
Led by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Bahrain has achieved a protective legal system that established a solid base of preventive and remedial measures to protect women.
Institutions and organizations have greatly contributed to confronting any practices that are alien to the Bahraini society and that attempt to undermine the status of women or to question their aptitudes psychologically or economically or physically.
The Supreme Council for Women, headed by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, has been since its establishment in 2001 the core and focus of action related to women's matters in Bahrain.
The Council, tasked with elevating the status of women in the country and empowering them politically, economically and socially, has been a major force in promoting laws, regulations and rules to advance their standing.
The Council has also been actively committed to removing discriminatory barriers obstructing the progress of women, dynamically involved in tackling potential abuses and keenly engaged in laying down the necessary plans to advance their positions, in cooperation with public and private institutions and organizations.
The Council has been steadily following up the implementation of the National Strategy to Protect Women from Domestic Violence, which has been achieved by 64% in 2019-2020.
The strategy is being implemented in cooperation with public and private institutions and civil society organizations through awareness programs, the societal culture of family relations, concepts of protection from violence, curricula and educational programs, concepts of social peace and the culture of resolving family disputes.
The awareness programs also include changing women stereotypes in school curricula to make them reflect the true status of Bahraini women and enhance their participation in the nation-building process, developing family protection services by opening more family reconciliation offices in social centres, and boosting the family protection offices in police directorates and raising their employees' efficiency and performance levels.
These centres provide protection services and shelters in cases of violence and set up rehabilitation programs for perpetrators of domestic violence.
They also follow up with the government and parliament regarding reviewing and developing laws and issuing decisions related to protecting women from family violence.
The centres coordinate between protection institutions and set up hotlines for reports and cases of violence, prepare guidelines and information about the protection centres, raise awareness about the available services, and carry out surveys and opinion polls to assess the quality of services.
Bahrain has been proactive in its response to the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) through the adoption of precautionary and preventive measures consistent with respect for international commitments and treaties and the needs of Bahraini women and families.
The measures have helped ensure the steady provision and efficiency of the social and economic protection system and the availability of the judicial services and family counselling.
The Supreme Council for Women, driven by its strong sense of responsibility and solidarity with Bahraini families during challenging times, launched a massive awareness campaign, "Together for the Safety of Bahrain" to assess the urgent needs working women and women supporting families and review their status through field surveys. No cases of violence were reported during the campaign.
Within its commitment to ensure that not a single service is interrupted by the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, all the services of the Women's Support Centre at the Supreme Council for Women have been digitalized through the launch of a "remote advisor" program that provides family, legal and psychological counselling to enhance family stability.
This has enabled the support centre to continue providing consultations virtually, to initiate prompt measures in coordination with all competent authorities to provide the necessary advice and protection even on official holidays, and to cooperate and coordinate between the Women Support Centre
and the relevant authorities.
The coordination meant that the family protection offices in the police directorates could provide instant protection for any battered woman and her referral for temporary residency at the Ministry of Labour and Social Development Aman Home with her children, in addition to psychological and social rehabilitation for her and her family members by specialized experts.
The Supreme Council for Women worked in cooperation with the relevant official and private entities bodies on ensuring the possibility for the Sharia/family courts and family reconciliation offices to review cases filed electronically and making the services provided by the Office of Family Reconciliation available online.
It also worked on capacity building to help Bahrainis use their creativity aptitudes in technology through the activation of electronic systems to monitor the completed work and record work tasks for monitoring and regulation.
The Supreme Council for Women and the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments also cooperated through activating the family reconciliation office online.
The implementation of Law 17 / 2015 on protection from domestic violence and executive decisions were reviewed to ensure their consistency with the spirit of the constitution and international conventions against gender-based violence and discrimination against women.
The review was through the programs and mechanisms of the National Strategy for the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence, such as awareness programs, the dangers and effects of family violence, the provision of protection centres and shelters, family, psychological, social and health counselling services, rehabilitation, assistance, services by the Public Prosecution and police stations to ensure the protection and confidentiality of family cases, and mechanisms for receiving reports and issuance of ministerial decisions.
Given the importance of statistics on violence, the registration and classification of cases of violence was followed up within the "Takatof" system as a qualitative national database in the field of domestic violence in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior.
The system includes main and sub-indicators classified according to types of violence in Bahrain based on the methodology of unifying definitions and classifications of types of violence.
The services provided to protect against domestic violence have been developed and improved based on the statistics.
The percentage of abused Bahraini wives out of the total number of married Bahraini women decreased by 0.02 per cent in 2019 compared with 2018.