On 28 April 2021, “Prevention and Response to Gender-Based Violence: Experience of Central Asian Countries and South Korea” international round table took place. This event was organized by the Spotlight Initiative regional program for Central Asia and Afghanistan, UNDP country office in Kyrgyzstan in partnership with the national Spotlight Initiative program in Kyrgyzstan, and UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC). Representatives of the criminal justice system (police), civil society organisations and UN Agencies attended the round table.

Natalia Maqsimchook, UNDP Project Officer for the Spotlight Initiative, presented highlights of the regional programme the Spotlight Initiative regional programme “Alliances for Change – Elimination of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices in the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan”. The participants learnt that the regional programme was designed to support and amplify country-level activities on ending violence against women and girls by addressing legislative and policy gaps, strengthening institutions (including the provision of quality services for survivors), promoting gender-equitable attitudes, producing disaggregated data and empowering women’s movements. It aims to contribute to the scale, visibility, exchange of experience and promotion of successful practices on prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, identified within the region. “Central Asian countries have charted their course on fighting violence against women. And today we are able not only to aspire to the successful experience of the champions but to single out the key success factors, such as the effective deployment of multisectoral response to sexual and gender-based violence, use of standardized protocols and operating procedures, budgeting and coordinated provision of essential service package for women and girls subject to violence, etc. These factors are in the focus of the regional programme activities.”

South Korean experience on prevention and response to all forms of violence against women through Sunflower centres is known and studied by the countries of Central Asia. UNDP Seoul Policy Centre is doing a great job of summarizing and promoting this experience through exchanges, study tours, knowledge products, training, etc. Ahjung Lee, Policy Specialist, USPC, summarized: “It is difficult to arrive at an average data on how much it costs to assist one victim. Sunflower centres are dealing with different types of violence, hence it depends on a case and people needed to assist a particular survivor of violence in a particular context”. She emphasized the importance of trained women - police officers residing in Sunflower centre, availability of good protocols and training for police officers to ensure admissibility of the testimony of survivors of violence.

Experts from Kazakhstan spoke about forms and methods of police response to sexual and domestic violence adapted from the South Korean training system of police officers. They also presented the training course for police officers, introduced in the educational institutions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Participants from Uzbekistan spoke about the national ongoing work on rehabilitation and adaptation of survivors of violence and suicide prevention.  

Participants spotlighted the importance of multisectoral response and better interaction between the law enforcement sector, state and non-state providers of services to victims/survivors of gender-based violence, including legal protection, medical care and psycho-social rehabilitation. 

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