Policy focuses on education, skills, economic activity, legal rights, healthcare, childcare, safety and security, safe housing, social networks’ expansion, community support, and acceptance
Sindh Women Development Department, in collaboration with Rozan, a non-government organization, launch on Wednesday a policy on Dar ul Amans, to improve post-shelter lives of women survivors of violence.
“The Women Development Department (WDD) had a shelter policy for the residents of Darul Amans (Shelter Homes) but had no any post-shelter reintegration policy for the women survivors of the violence. So, we have developed a post-shelter integration policy for the women survivors of violence under the patronage of Minister Syeda Shehla Raza and we are happy that we are launching the policy today,” Anjum Iqbal Jumani, Secretary WDD, Sindh said while speaking at the launching ceremony held at a local hotel.
Economic empowerment is globally considered a key component in structural interventions to reduce gender inequality and instances of gender-based violence (GBV) among women and girls. However, in Pakistan, low socioeconomic status is attributed to the majority of women survivors of violence who seek refuge in Darul Amans leading to overwhelming barriers to their independent integration in the society. This leads to a high rate of return of women in Darul Amans due to abusive partners and/or households, perpetuating, and in many instances worsening violence and abuse.
During the presentation of the policy launch, Fouzia Yasmin Deputy Director Programs Rozan elaborated, “This policy is to strengthen the social and economic integration services and programs for women seeking shelter from gender-based violence, abuse, and exploitation in the province of Sindh. “It lays down priority actions related to education and skills; economic activity; legal rights; healthcare; childcare and support; safety and security; safe housing; social networks’ expansion, community support, and acceptance, which have been determined as key areas requiring concerted focus by all concerned stakeholders inputting into this policy.”
In a research study by Rozan (Working since 2000 on Darul Amans and other women shelters all over Pakistan) conducted in 2019 with women survivors in their post shelter journey, it was noticed that women were in a better position to live a life free of violence if they have enhanced capacity of earning or support made available to them by shelter management. However, lack of any institutional support and mechanism from state once they leave shelters was expressed by all of them.
The development of Socio-economic Integration Policy for Women Survivors is a deliberative effort to strengthen post-shelter lives of women survivors enabling them to live their lives free of violence when they leave Darul Amans. The Policy document is based on a year-long consultative and reflective process undertaken by the Women Development Department Sindh and Rozan, between 2022 and 2023, to understand and better respond to shelter-homes’ residents’ socio-economic needs, as a method of violence prevention and mitigation.
The policy lays down priority actions related to education and skills; economic activity; legal rights; healthcare; childcare and support; safety and security; safe housing; and social networks’ expansion, which have been determined as key areas requiring concerted focus by all concerned stakeholders inputting into this policy.
“It is hoped that the implementation of this policy will assist women survivors of violence in the pursuit of social & economic justice and encourage them to break the cycle of abuse. It is also hoped that this Policy will ultimately contribute towards violence against women mitigation and prevention in Sindh.
The representatives of local and international organizations which were also part of the policy launch pledged their support in making this policy launch a successful event. (PR)