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Coronavirus & Women’s Shelters: Policy perspectives on protection of domestic violence victims



On Wednesday, April 1 at 6AM EST (6PM Taiwan time), the Garden of Hope Foundation, the Asian Network of Women’s Shelters (ANWS) and the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) held their second webinar on Coronavirus and Women’s Shelters, this time on the topic of “Policy perspectives on protection of victims of domestic violence during the outbreak”.

We were fortunate to secured two experienced officials from the Taiwanese government, who kindly agreed to take time out of their busy schedules to give presentations and answer questions.

Dr. Twu Shiing-jer was Minister for Health and Welfare in Taiwan during the SARS crisis. The lessons learned from the outbreak in 2003 have been credited for helping Taiwan keep COVID-19 under control. Dr. Twu has also served as a legislator and the mayor of Chiayi City.

Chen I-ju is a Section Chief in the Department of Protective Services under the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Ms. Chen’s department handles domestic violence prevention services, the national domestic abuse hotline, and other programs including women’s shelters.

We also heard updates from shelter organizations around the world and questions from the webinar participants.

The webinar addressed the following questions:

In lockdown situations, how can shelters and domestic violence prevention organizations respond? What should governments do to address the needs of survivors of violence?
What procedures should shelters follow to treat residents who show symptoms of COVID-19?
What policies should governments implement to help shelters respond to coronavirus?
How can shelters protect the confidentiality of survivors and avoid screening that denies access to services, while at the same time also protect the health of other residents and staff from COVID-19?
What lessons did Taiwan learn from SARS that helped prepare for coronavirus?

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