Why we are partnering to roll out the Essential Service Package for elimination of violence against women and girls

The Essential Services Package (ESP) is a guidance tool that provides a coordinated set of essential and quality multi-sectoral services to be provided to all women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence (GBV).

ESP includes services that should be provided by the health, social services, police and justice sectors.

The ESP translates international commitments on ending and responding to GBV into concrete actions to be implemented at the country level though a survivor centred approach.

The ESP is remarkable because it is the first global guideline to set out coordinated quality service provision that survivors of violence should receive—everywhere and anywhere!

Ending GBV by rolling out the ESP is one of Lao PDRs commitments, made at the ICPD25 commemoration in 2019. COVID-19 has increased the need for such services.

Rolling out the ESP involves harmonized, complementary actions that will assist Lao authorities to progress on their international commitments, based on the local context.

The British Embassy in Vientiane is strengthening social services to improve women’s protection shelters in Savannakhet, and engaging males on GBV prevention at the community level.

The Australian Embassy in Vientiane is strengthening the national coordination between service providers in Laos and supporting referral pathways to help women and girls who have been affected by GBV.

UNFPA Representative Mariam A. Khan emphasized that to realise women and girl’s right to live free from violence, coordinated efforts by stakeholders, as is being done in Laos by UNFPA and partners for rolling out the ESP, is cost effective and yields optimal results for women and girls.

This approach can ensure that the human rights of women and girls are protected, which in turn fosters an environment in which they are treated with dignity and respect.

British Ambassador John Pearson explained that preventing Gender Based Violence and supporting gender equality is a key objective for the British Government, both globally and in Laos.

As well as supporting the shelter in Savannakhet, in recent years the British Embassy has supported programmes for women and girls through the Lao Rugby Federation, Aide et Action, and Lone Buffalo, amongst others.

Jane Chandler, Australian Chargé d’Affaires, said Australia is proud to be working with the Lao Government and international partners on this ground-breaking initiative which ultimately will strengthen the support provided to victims of GBV.

Australia is a strong advocate for the rights of women and girls in Laos and also supports through our basic education, social protection, economic recovery and human rights programmes.

Madame Bouachnah Sihanath said Lao Women’s Union as organization protects benefits and rights of women and girls. We have integrated ICPD25 commitments into the 5-year plan National Women Development and the National Action Plan for preventing and combating violence against women and girls for 2021-2025.

Lao Women’s Union is implementing the Essential Service Package (ESP) for women and girls through the protection centre of women and children at provincial and district levels.

Source: Lao News Agency