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June 19, 2008

Domestic Violence in MA nearly tripled from 05' to 07'

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE is ravaging Massachusetts: The number of related homicides and suicides has nearly tripled from 19 in 2005 to 55 in 2007, according to the local nonprofit group Jane Doe Inc. At a rate of more than one death a week, this number is the highest that Jane Doe has documented.
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Gruesome similarities are found in these cases: echoes of depression and rage; of past beatings; of perpetrators' threats to kill victims.

Last week, Governor Patrick took a crucial step by issuing a public health advisory on domestic violence, to alert the public and galvanize official action.

A public health perspective emphasizes the fact that domestic violence isn't just a personal problem, but rather a societal issue with huge costs for families and workplaces. Public health also promotes prevention and using data to come up with more effective policies and practices.

"People weren't following the data," said John Auerbach, the state's public health commissioner. Now the state will look more deeply into the numbers. This is essential, because intimate partner violence has been declining nationally from 1993 to 2005, according to the US Department of Justice. Jane Doe Inc. has found that from 2003 to 2007, the numbers of domestic violence related deaths have fallen or held steady in other New England states.

"We want to look at it from all angles," Toni Troop, Jane Doe's public relations director, explains, including the risk faced by immigrants, by spouses as compared to unmarried partners, and by having children from prior relationships.

Massachusetts is also asking healthcare providers to do more. Auerbach says obstetricians can discuss violence with women who are pregnant or even just thinking about conceiving, since research shows that homicide is the leading cause of death for women who are or were recently pregnant. Even dentists, who often see the aftermath of domestic violence assaults, could offer patients referrals for help.

The state should also bang harder on the drums of public awareness. Domestic violence counselors say victims often call for help because someone knew to give them the phone number for SafeLink (877-785-2020), the state's domestic violence hotline.

Domestic violence services are also slated to get a small increase in state funding. It won't cover all the unmet needs. But the governor's advisory should amplify this spending by calling for greater coordination and creativity, despite fiscal limitations.

The more Massachusetts knows about domestic violence, the more lives it can save.

This article was taken from the June 10th edition of the Boston Globe, originally titled "Healing the Hurt at Home."

Posted by at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2008

Nigerian collegue wins Disney Grant

Grassroots Development and Empowerment (GRADE) in Nigeria, founded by our colleague and friend, Patrick Amah, recently won a Disney Minnie Grant. The following is a report, written by Patrick, about the awareness that the grant has inspired.

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD 2008) celebration

Peer Educators being tested on their knowledge of the Child's Rights Act for qualification to educate others.


Grassroots Development and Empowerment (GRADE) Foundation was awarded a Disney Minnie Grant to lead a community service campaign on Global Youth Service Day (GYSD 2008) celebrated every April. It is the largest service event in the world. These grants support young people between the ages of 5 and 14 years old in planning and implementing service projects in their community. Disney Minnie Grant winners were selected by Youth Service America (YSA) and sponsored by Disney and in our own case, because of the importance of the service project, supported by the Afikpo South (Edda) Local Government Council in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

With 13 year old Master Chima Amah (an SS1 student of Teresa Montessori College, Afikpo as the Lead Youth Organizer - mentored by our organization), the GYSD 2008 celebration in Afikpo South LGA of Ebonyi State disseminated information on the Child's Rights Act 2003 in the rural schools/communities in the LGA; trained in-school youth and teachers to become advocates of Child's Rights protection in their respective schools/communities. Child's Rights Clubs were formed in the 10 pilot participating schools across the LGA which was inaugurated on the celebration day by Mrs. Cecilia Nkama who represented the Deputy Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Mrs. Dorothy Obasi.

130 school youth (71 males and 59 females) and 20 teachers (10 males and 10 females) participated in the training and were trained as Peer Educators on the Child's Rights Act after which the participating youth were tested (by written test) on the Child's Rights Act to test their understanding of the Act as a prerequisite to qualify them to teach others through their various Child's Rights Clubs.

8 Physically Challenged persons (youth) and 467 in and out-of-school youth were also present at the celebration and the leader of the Girls Guides in Afikpo South LGA who represented her organization.

The service project was generally heralded as 85% of the rural populace (including teachers) in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State never heard about the existence of the Child's Rights Act 2003. The Child's Rights Act 2003 was signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003. From the year of its passage into law to date (April 2008), over 85% of rural in-school youth, their teachers and rural community members never knew of, nor heard about the existence of such law protecting the rights of children in Nigeria.

Our organization is therefore happy to be associated with Youth Service America who approved our application to carry out this very important service project especially Disney for the Minnie Grant awarded to us. We totally agree with the President of YSA who said "it is an honour to work with Disney who is committed to youth serving around the world. This yearly programme increases the scale and visibility of youth serving around their community and helps young people around the world play a leading role in addressing important community needs by giving their time, energy, commitment and idealism. It should be appreciated that millions of young people serving together in their communities, performing strategic service send powerful message of hope and healing around the globe."

We have also discovered that engaging youth in matters affecting them or their communities is a wonderful opportunity to encourage today's youth to be part of making our world a better place to live.

The Executive Chairman of the Local Government Area, Hon. Nkama, Nkama Ude had this to say "It is a great privilege to share with you ideas on how to advance these humanitarian services of protecting the rights of our children and this group must be protected as they are the people we will bequeath our future to."

Master Chima Amah (the lead youth organizer) had this to say in his address "We are gathered here to disseminate information on the Child's Rights Act signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003, which has been passed into law by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly; thereby joining the countries and States that are concerned for the welfare of the child, as specified by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Before April 2008, most children in Afikpo South Local Government Area did not know and never heard about the Child's Rights Act 2003 and that they have rights which must be protected. So, we are here today to celebrate this knowledge with the hope that it will propel Edda children to work harder in order to measure up and contribute in matters affecting them and their community.

"We are here to celebrate the planting of seed in the minds of Edda children that they have rights as well as responsibilities to the society, which if protected and adhered to, will surely make us (children) live more responsible and productive lives in order to become the better leaders of tomorrow expected of us."

The service project has come and gone leaving in its wake 3 landmark achievements in Afikpo South Local Government Area:
1. Getting the youth to come together as a team (for the first time) to plan and execute a service project that has to do with a matter that concern them now, and in the future. This has definitely opened a new horizon that they can come together to exchange ideas, plan and carry out a project on their own. Youth in Afikpo South now know that they are capable of making adults recognize their ability to contribute to self and community development.
2. The dissemination of information on the Child's Rights Act in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State Nigeria has not just popularized the Act but has caused the Local Government Legislative Council to pass the Child's Rights Act into law in the Local Government Area as required by law thereby making the LGA to become the first to pass the law at local level in Ebonyi State.
3. The Child's Rights Clubs members are now advocates and watchdogs of Child's Rights abuse in their schools and communities.

The following pictures were taken at the celebration!




Posted by at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

International Conference on Gender-based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health

15-18 February 2009
Mumbai, India

Sponsored by:
National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (Indian Council of Medical Research); UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/Word Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction; and Indian Society for the Study of Reproduction and Fertility

For more information:

Submission of Abstracts
The final date to receive abstracts is 15 October 2008.

Conference Goals
This conference aims to expand what is known about the magnitude of gender-based violence and its impact on the health of the individual and the society, to fill gaps in our understanding of factors underlying the experience of violence and consequences of violence for women's, families' and nations' well-being and programmatic responses intended to eliminate sexual violence. More specifically the objectives of organizing this conference are to: (i) review the magnitude and determinants of GBV; (ii) explore the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) consequences of GBV; (iii) share experiences of programmes and interventions for the prevention of GBV, their impact on SRH and gaps and challenges that remain; (iv) review relevant policies, programmes and their implementation; and (v) suggest recommendations on programme strategies and policies to address GBV and SRH.

The scientific programme will include a keynote address, plenary lectures and symposia sessions, panel discussions, and poster presentations. The programme will be broad based and will address the key areas outlined below. Sessions will be multi-disciplinary, including findings derived from operational, psycho-social and behavioural research and programmes related to gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health.

Provisional Topics
- Various forms and determinants of GBV
- Linkages between GBV and SRH
- Gender power imbalances, violence and SRH
- GBV, sexuality and SRH
- GBV and reproductive health (Unwanted pregnancy, RTI/STI, HIV higher fertility, shorter birth spacing, contraception)
- Men as perpetrators and victims of GBV
- Men as partners in prevention of GBV and promoting SRH care
- SRH implications of GBV in conflict situations
- Vulnerability to GBV (trafficked women, female sex workers, intravenous drug users, pregnant women, migrants, HIV positive individuals, ethnic minorities, physically and mentally challenged)
- Youth and gender based violence
- Women survivors of violence and their SRH needs and rights
- Socio-psychological dimension of GBV in SRH Care
- Managing SRH consequences of GBV
- Challenges of addressing GBV within SRH programmes
- Best practices in addressing GBV within SRH clinic settings
- Community based programmes in addressing GBV
- Role of health systems and health workers in addressing GBV
- Counseling approaches
- Evaluating GBV and SRH programmes
- Law enforcement and GBV
- Laws, policies on GBV in different sectors
- Ethical issues in research and programmes on GBV and SRH
- Estimating economic costs of GBV
- Methodological issues in research on GBV and SRH

The conference will be held at the InterContinental The Grand Mumbai, Sahar Airport Road, Andheri East, Mumbai 400059.
Phone: (+91 22) 66683240; Fax: (+91 22) 6668 3278.; Contact person: Ms Radhika De

Accommodation can be arranged in various categories of hotels of international standards and at other places to suit your budget. In the event you need any assistance for booking accommodation, please let us know. Special conference rates have been negotiated with various hotels including "InterContinental The Grand Mumbai".

The content posted in this message reflects the views of the original author/s and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Population Reference Bureau nor its sponsors.

Please visit the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) web site at

Posted by Malcolm Chu at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

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