New Protection Shelter for Domestic Violence Victims Opens in Attapeu

Counselling and Protection Center for Women and Children. ( Photo : UNFPA).

A new shelter for survivors of gender-based violence has opened in the province of Attapeu, with support from the governments of Japan, UNFPA, and Laos.

This shelter is part of a broader investment UNFPA is helping LWU coordinate that aims to improve Social and Health Services for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) response nationwide.

The establishment of the shelter will provide access to safe spaces, which is a critical factor in a woman or girl’s decision to escape a violent domestic situation in Laos.

Particularly for Attapeu, given the higher risk of disasters in the province, as well as the international borders which increase transit, women and girls are at an increased risk of GBV.

At the event, Ms. Inlavanh Keobounphanh, President of the Lao Women’s Union urged the provincial leaders and relevant sectors to pay extra attention to the cooperation and support of this shelter, ensuring victims of violence receive the protection they need.

 “Especially important is the engagement of men in family institutions and communities, in all places and at all times,” she added. 

The protection shelters are part of the Essential Services Package (ESP) – a global good practice for a coordinated response by all sectors to provide survivor-centered services, which is being implemented by the Government of Laos with the support of UNFPA.

Mr. Leth  Xayyaphone, Governor of Attapeu province, expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Lao Women’s Union, UNFPA, and the Japanese Embassy in Laos for the financial and technical support to establish the protection shelter.

Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative, said, “I trust that under the leadership of Attapeu Province and Lao Women’s Union, effective coordinated actions to protect women and girls’ rights will be taken.

“UNFPA will continue to support LWU Attapue in operationalizing the shelter through Standard procedures for shelters aligned with the One-Stop Service Centre (OSSC) model. Where possible, an OSSC is designed to give survivors of violence access to holistic services under one roof and free of charge. ”

This shelter in Attapeu will offer survivors temporary housing, first aid, mental health counseling, legal advice, and vocational training. Additionally, it serves as a hub for referrals to other specialized sectors, making it an essential resource for survivors seeking support.

Ms. Boundai Thammavongsa, an LWU staff member of the Attapeu Protection Center, said, “We are very happy that this shelter will be up and running to support the people from our community. Prior to the official opening the staff at our Attapue Shelter have been trained in the SOP for the Social Sector which enables us to confidently provide effective social services to meet the needs of survivors.”

Another protection shelter for women and children was opened in Bokeo Province in April, specifically catering to victims of domestic violence.