In 1997 an Australian psychologist, Dr Dale Hurst, visited Mongolia and conducted training in how to work with male perpetrators of domestic violence. The first part of the training targeted law enforcement personnel, police, judges and lawyers and aimed to give them an understanding of domestic violence. The second part was for police, to teach them how to provide anti-violence training to male perpetrators both inside and outside prison. This is the first training program for male perpetrators, and is greatly appreciated by law enforcement organizations. It helps the male perpetrators understand their roles and responsibilities in family and society, and inspires them to change their violent behavior. It makes it clear that male violence is the responsibility of men, and emphasizes that men have to learn to solve conflicts without violence. But it also recognizes that they need understanding and help in changing their behaviour.
The Ulaanbatar Police Department and the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) are now cooperating in a project to train male perpetrators to change their attitudes towards and actions of violence. The project will create a new training room at the Police Department where "train the trainer" courses will be run for police. The graduates of these courses will then provide training to male perpetrators being held by police, as well as law enforcement workers, trainee police officers, soldiers and prisoners. The content of these courses will include human rights, violence and its consequences and impact on family relationships, existing legal instruments about violence, and how to prevent domestic violence and consolidate family relationships. Information will also be provided to police, lawyers, advocates, public prosecutors and law enforcement officials on how to deal with perpetrators, and how to change their own attitudes towards perpetrators. To support these efforts, the NCAV has already published a book, "The Man Also Cries", which helps perpetrators and their families understand violence in men.
#2 Promoting the Rights
The Mongolian Child Rights Centre believes that violence against children can be reduced by teaching children about their rights, helping them to exercise those rights, and promoting a focus on children's needs and rights.
To enable children to express themselves, the Centre has established a Children's Hotline in two major cities in Mongolia. This free service also gives children the opportunity to seek advice and counselling from doctors, lawyers and educators without the involvement of their parents. Another successful initiative was the Children's Post, developed with the support of the Mongol Shuudan Company. Under this initiative 10,000 pre-stamped envelopes were made available through branches of the post office for children to send letters free of charge.
The Children's Hotline is complemented by a Family Consultation Centre, which aims to focus on children's issues within families. The Centre offers a range of services for young couples and teenagers, including training, consultation, and advice on family issues.
For children in prison, the Centre provides support through social workers and special education programs. Social workers from the Centre regularly visit the children's prison, meeting with the children on an individual basis and listening to their wishes and suggestions. The Centre also funds four highly experienced secondary school teachers to provide daily lessons in the prison so that the children can achieve their certificate of general education.
Journalists in the Fight Against Domestic Violence
Recognizing the importance of the mass media in disseminating information and lobbying for change, the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) is implementing a training project focusing on journalists.
The training has been designed in two stages. In the first stage, twenty-five journalists from cities and provinces were briefed on human rights, women's rights, domestic violence and legislation concerning domestic violence. Some of these participants will be selected for the second stage and given special training on domestic violence.
The participants of the first course have already established a working group to carry forward the momentum of the course. The group aims to advocate against television advertising, press advertising and films portraying violent crimes and pornography, and to encourage the public to fight against domestic violence. To maximize impact, each journalist will specialize in a particular area.
#4 Educating People
The number of divorces is increasing each year, with the main causes being misconduct or misunderstandings between family members, and use of violence to settle family conflicts. The National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) believes there is a great need to educate young men and women about the rights and responsibilities of family members, and how to peacefully solve domestic conflicts. To this end it has established a Family Education Centre.
The Centre has a wide range of activities. To increase knowledge and understanding of domestic violence it conducts surveys and other research on the causes and consequences of domestic violence. It provides legal advice on family relations and family law matters to all who request it, and organizes support groups for victims of sexual and domestic violence, divorcees, or wives of alcoholics or of men who wish to change their violent behaviour.
The Family Education Centre also conducts training for the general public on law and family relations, for specific groups on domestic violence, and for teachers on family education and domestic violence issues. In cooperation with the City Police, it is developing training for male perpetrators who wish to change their violent behaviour.
# 5 Providing
Emergency accommodation is not sufficient to assist some women who are escaping from domestic violence to establish a new life for them. Housing is in short supply in Mongolia, and in most cases the husband has sole ownership of the family home, with the contract in his name as head of the family. There is no welfare service which can solve the immediate housing needs of battered women, and after staying for a few days in an emergency shelter they often have no choice but to return to live with their violent husbands.
To assist women in these circumstances, the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) has recently established two Transition Houses. These houses provide women and children escaping domestic violence with accommodation for 6 to 12 months, until they can find a job or another place to live away from the violent husband. The women receive ongoing support from the NCAV, and participate in support groups at the Centre.
Longer-Term Assistance through Support Groups
After leaving emergency accommodation such as the Shelter House, women victims of domestic violence often remain under pressure and at risk of depression. To overcome their trauma they need ongoing help and moral support. The National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) provides this through a Support Group for women who have left the Shelter House.
The objective of the Support Group is to maintain contact with women who have left the Shelter House, to encourage them to develop self-confidence and to facilitate them solving their problems. It also gives the women an opportunity to talk and listen to each other, and to share their experiences, hopes and expectations.
Each group consists of 8-12 women who meet once a week for three months in the Support Group, and attend different interest group activities organized by the NCAV. Members of previous groups often work as facilitators, or become advocates against domestic violence.
For those women who cannot attend the regular meetings of the Support Group, staff of the NCAV meet with them individually, and give legal information or even food and clothing according to need. This long-term assistance is greatly appreciated by victims and the community.
#7 Training Those Who
Work with Victims of Domestic Violence
The National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) believes that victims of domestic violence need better understanding and support from those professionals they come in contact with. These personnel need appropriate training about domestic violence, how to prevent it and how to support victims.
The Centre develops training manuals and resources, and offers a busy training schedule of long- and short-term courses targeting different specialist groups. For example, in 1997 a special training course was run for over 500 police staff in three provinces. The provincial branches of the Centre organized the training, and two international experts participated as resource people.
Specialist courses have also been run for medical doctors in Tolgoit district, and in some hospitals and other medical institutions in Ulaanbaatar. General courses have been conducted for women in prison, factory workers, and volunteers wishing to work on the telephone hotline for victims. In cooperation with children's organizations, awareness-raising courses have been provided to over 3000 children in secondary schools.
#8 Counselling Children
who Witness Domestic Violence
Children who witness domestic violence are exposed to severe trauma, which disrupts their normal development and can often have grave consequences. Statistics suggest that these children run a high risk of becoming perpetrators or victims themselves. It is important to intervene early to help them work through their traumatic experiences.
To do this, the National Centre Against Violence has a counselling service to assist the children of mothers who come to the Shelter House to escape domestic violence. A support group complements this activity for children of different ages who have left the Shelter House with their mothers.
The counselling aims to help the children learn to express themselves and to understand that they are not responsible for the violence. A room has been dedicated to child counselling, and a psychologist gives individual counselling sessions for each child. During the session the psychologist encourages the child to express their thoughts and feelings about what has happened, through casual conversation or while drawing or playing. Positive changes in children's behaviour are frequently observed after several sessions of counselling and play.
Separately, the National Centre against Violence is implementing a new education project to eliminate violence among secondary school children. The project aims to influence children at an early age and give them information about violence and alternative strategies for dealing with conflicts without violence. Eventually it is hoped that this will create a climate of non-violence among the entire society.
#9 Raising Awareness
through Publications and the Media
To date, very little has been published in Mongolia about men's violence against women. Issues such as wife beating, sexual assault, prostitution and child abuse have been taboo. Research and statistical data are rare. To fill this gap in public information, the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) has produced a range of publications and programs in popular media.
With the support of the Asia Foundation, the Centre produces a quarterly newsletter "Khelkhee" which is distributed to parliamentary members, government officials, police departments, judges and the public. The newsletter includes general information about violence, results of surveys and research, and examples of local activities and international best practice in addressing violence.
With funding from the Global Fund for Women, one of the leading producers in the country made a documentary film called "A Drop of Tears" which aimed to change opinions and attitudes about gender. The film was well accepted by the public, and is being successfully used in training programs.
NCAV have also established a mass media working group of 13 professional journalists, including television and radio correspondents, to train young journalists willing to work in this field and to raise public awareness about violence. This has also assisted the Centre to obtain good coverage of its activities in national television and radio.
#10 Providing Legal
Advice to Victims of Violence
In Mongolia, there is no separate court or police department dealing specifically with family matters. Independent lawyers and advocates deal with general legal matters, and do not address the psychological state and needs of individual victims. Therefore, one of the most important activities of the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) is providing legal advice to women who come to the Shelter House.
The guiding principle of the Shelter House is to help and support victims of violence. Here each woman is given an opportunity to talk openly about her experiences with a lawyer, without outside interference or fear. The House aims to prepare her for dealing with authorities by explaining her rights and by giving information on legal aid organizations. The lawyer also tells the woman about alternative ways to solve her conflict, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each. If she decides to go to court for a divorce, the Shelter House helps her to prepare the necessary documents and evidence, and gives her moral support. Of course, in each case the woman is encouraged to help herself, and makes the final decision in all matters.
#11 Providing a
Telephone Hotline for Victims
The National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) has recently established a telephone hotline for victims of violence against women in Ulaanbaatar. The free hotline is open 24 hours a day, and aims to assist women and children in crisis arising from domestic violence, emotional abuse, sexual violence, or other forms of violence. It provides advice and support, gives legal information, and encourages the victims to develop solutions for their problems.
A monthly course gives volunteers general training in how to work with victims of violence. After the course, the volunteers receive a further short period of intensive training before they begin answering calls. The majority of volunteers are female students.
#12 Raising Awareness
through an Annual Campaign
Since 1997 the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) has held a one-week campaign in September each year to unite and mobilize women against violence, and to disseminate information on violence.
In the first year, each day of the week had a different "no-violence" theme, such as "No Violence against Children Day", "No Domestic Violence Day", "No Workplace Violence Day" and so on. Various activities were held which raised awareness and promoted the messages of the campaign. For example, on "No Sexual Violence Day", an evening demonstration called "Darkness is not a Fear" was held to protest against male acts of violence against women at night.
The focus of the 1998 campaign was on promoting and educating the public about a new draft law on domestic violence. Highlights included a mass meeting to support the draft law, a memorial service for victims of domestic violence, and an appeal to the public to fight against violence and support the draft law. Newsletters and leaflets were distributed, and public comments and suggestions about how to address domestic violence were collected. These activities raised awareness of the importance of changing attitudes towards male violence against women.
#13 Protecting Children
through the Police
The Police Criminal Division for the Prevention of Juvenile Crimes has several activities, which address violence against children. Part of its mandate is to identify, protect and supervise children who run away from home, are abandoned, are vulnerable to crimes or involved in criminal acts.
Recently, the Division has cooperated with the Mongolian Child Rights Centre to open a Centre for the Protection of Children, whose purpose is to protect children from crimes and violence. The Centre has already assisted over 300 children by providing medical aid, establishing contact with parents and relatives, or organizing educational and recreational activities among children.
#14 Collecting Data on
Violence Against Women
To address the lack of statistical data on violence against women, a number of NGOs have begun collecting data and conducting their own research and surveys related to domestic violence. In a relatively short period they have implemented a number of surveys and other research projects to increase knowledge about violence against women.
The Women's Information and Research Centre serves as a resource for the collection of information on gender issues generally. It has recently developed a computer database of women-related material covering over thirty topics and eighty statistical series.
The National Centre against Violence has conducted a number of surveys related to violence against women. These have included an analysis of divorce cases, a survey of criminal domestic violence cases, a survey of court decisions, and various surveys on domestic violence generally and alcoholism.
The Mongolian Women Lawyers Association conducts research related to laws and regulations. It recently conducted a survey to support the preparation of the draft law on domestic violence.
Services in Rural Areas
To address the growth of crimes and violence against women in rural areas, the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) opened branches in five provinces in mid 1997. Each branch has three full-time staff, a director, a counsellor and a legal advisor. The branches receive both financial and moral support from the provincial administration and from the general population.
A range of activities has been undertaken by the different branches. In its first six months, the Uvurkhangai province branch organized training on domestic violence for 2000 local law enforcement officials, judges and police; conducted a survey of almost 500 people; and provided counselling and legal advice to almost sixty women and children who had been victims of violence. The Bayankhongor province branch organized training for over 200 secondary school children, while the Orkhon province branch conducted 24 surveys covering almost 900 people in total, and established a telephone hotline for victims of violence. Other branches have requested assistance to implement similar activities.
#16 Cooperating to
Develop Legislation Against Violence
Despite the fact that women form the largest group of victims of violence in Mongolia, existing laws do not address domestic violence and provide little protection for women. To remedy this situation, two NGOs, the National Centre Against Violence and the Mongolian Women Lawyers Association decided to take the initiative in preparing a new draft Law Against Domestic Violence.
The two NGOs established a working group consisting of members of parliament, representatives of women's and children's NGOs, law enforcement officials, police, judges, and the media. The membership and organization of the working group was designed so that it could work in all areas necessary to achieve the ultimate goal of an effective law against domestic violence. Three sub-groups were formed with responsibility for drafting, research and lobbying, while other activities focus on the adoption and later implementation of the law.
The draft of the new law has now been prepared and is listed for debate by the State Ikh Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia. If adopted, it will be extremely important in forming a legal environment, which protects women and children from assaults and maltreatment, protects the rights of victims, and imposes heavier penalties on perpetrators.
#17 Providing Emergency
Accommodation to Women and Children
In 1995, the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) established the Shelter House in Ulaanbaatar to provide emergency accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence. The house has three rooms with a total of ten beds, and clients can stay for two weeks to one month.
When women or children arrive at the Shelter House they are first offered medical aid, if required. Trained workers can provide counselling and legal advisory services. The staff regularly works with lawyers, police, social welfare and hospitals to meet the needs of the clients. The Shelter House also operates a 24-hour telephone hotline, support groups for women, and training for staff and volunteers.
In its first three years, the Shelter House assisted almost 750 people, of whom half were women and half were children. Demand for emergency accommodation is much greater than can be met by the Shelter House, and the organization recognizes that the accommodation that can be provided, in shared rooms with other women and children, is less than ideal. There are plans to open more shelter houses at other women's NGOs, and at religious and charity organizations, and to work closely with women's organizations and care centres in urban areas.