Since the beginning of cooperation of the Fondation Dufresne et Gauthier with non-governmental organisations of Mongolia in 2010 funding their projects, the professionalism of the young ladies working for the protection center of the National Centre against Violence, services they deliver to children and women and their attitude to their job have always been a source of pride for the Foundation.
Despite their young age of 25-30, they demonstrate incredible spiritual strength and boundless compassion offering their hands of help to children and women who are going through harsh life and suffer both physically and emotionally and bestowing them hope, courage and vigour.
The National Centre against Violence was established 24 years ago as a non-governmental organisation with a protection center with 2 workers and 4 beds with a purpose of interception of domestic violence committed against women and children and protection of the victims. Nowadays this is a nationwide organisation implementing activities within 5 programmes with 11 local branches, 2 protection centers (shelters) and one training and service centre. Its activities have expanded beyond seizure of violence and protection of victims as the organisation now offers comprehensive professional services based on the rights and needs of survivors of violence and also conducts public awareness building and advocacy work.
At the time of the establishment of the organisation 24 years ago, Mongolia had just seen the successful democratic revolution leading to adoption of a new constitution that approves a multiparty political system and transition to the market economy from the centrally planned economy along with privatisation. However, a number of negative effects of the transition period such as closure of many factories and entities that relied on economic cooperation of the countries of the former socialist system accompanied with ups in the unemployment rate, alcoholism and criminality forcing a certain group of children to live on the street. The collective of the non-governmental organisation founded in those conditions have implemented a handful of fruitful work for the society throughout the 20 years of its existence as the result of their commitment and hard work.
As an example, they established the first in its kind protection center for victims and developed a standard operation procedure of providing care to victims. The approach developed by the staff of the NCAV was introduced to the temporary shelters of the Metropolitan Police and of the hotline 108.
Also the organisation directed its advocacy to development and preparation for submission of the bill Combating Domestic Violence in cooperation with the Association of Women-Lawyers resulting in the Law adopted in 2004 thus, for the first time in history, the Government of Mongolia officially accepted a responsibility of protection of the safety of its citizens at the family level. However, in the face of ineffective implementation of the Law, the organization consistently continued its advocacy indicating at the needs and necessity of revision of the law and improvement of its coordination with other laws throughout a decade. These efforts succeeded with formation of an integrated legal framework criminalizing violence committed in a family circle and establishing a system of reporting and responding to this category of offence. Reporting on family violence surged up and the number of cases increased following the implementation of the Law resulting in 40 percent reduction of homicide perpetrated in families (G. Erdenibat. Deputy State General Prosecutor. December 2018).
In addition, for the first time Mongolia introduced a practice of evaluation of emotional damages to victims and court ordering to repair the damages. By the current time, damages have been repaid for 10 cases. The NCAV also initiated the model of the multidisciplinary team made up of professionals working at the primary administrative levels and this model was replicated nationwide. Handbooks for lawyers of courts and prosecutor’s offices as well as for health professionals were produced and training sessions were held. During the training activities, these professionals learned effective methodologies of working with child-victims. These are part of the examples of the fruitful work the NCAV has initiated and implemented.
The Fondation Dufresne et Gauthier (FDG) began funding some of the projects implemented at the temporary shelters of the National Centre against Violence aiding growth of the organisation and enhancement of its streamlined activities.
With implementation of projects funded by the FDG, the modest number of the protection center workers were able to place children for 3 – 90 days with soup (in average 110 – 130 children surviving violence receive the services of the shelter). In addition, the service is accomplished with primary medical checks, psychological counseling, social work services, legal aid and referrals basing on the needs of the survivors.
If you are wondering what referral is it is associated with a number of services of prevention of dropping out of school, health care, capacity building and vocational training of women and mothers, liaison for employment, assisting for access to public welfare services, working with the multidisciplinary team of the khoroo (district) of the victim and etc. All these activities are bravely handled by only six courageous women employed at the shelter.
The implementation of the activities planned and proposed by the NCAV to FDG for funding have been highly productive and successful. As an example, recruitment of a full time psychologist at the Centre enabled provision of individual and group psychological counseling on a regular basis along with a commencement of the work of a support group. The Centre organised a shadow performance of a play titled “Break the Silence” in December 2012 with children who survived violence acting in the show. The spectators were offered opportunities to voice their opinions after the play and this kind of activities promoting discussions on certain issues was carried out over 3 consecutive years.
The Centre also began working with family of the survivors, not only with the victims. Parents are trained for positive discipline of their children for preparation of family reunification.
Also the work to create digital database of women and children who are victims of violence has commenced.
The positive changes and remarkable outcomes coming up as the results of the many years of hard work of the employees of the NCAV and continuous support of the FDG can be seen as evidenced by the clients who received the services of the National Centre against Violence.
Blood sisters B and C lived under sexual abuse of their uncle for a long time and this crime was revealed as victim C gave birth to her uncle’s child at her age of 14. The girls refrained from telling their parents about the abuse as their father constantly hit and tortured their mother until they finally told about it to their aunt when the elder sister gave birth to the child. The aunt reported the case and the police initiated a criminal proceeding.
This case became a reason for divorce of their parents. When the girls were brought to the Centre, they were psychologically suppressed as a result of the abuse, their health had suffered as they experienced epilepsy, they had dropped off their school and roamed on the street and they consumed alcohol and tobacco.
While the workers of the National Centre against Violence provided the girls health, psychological and other services for over 2 months, the lawyer of the Centre worked as the advocate of the girls in the proceedings of the case achieving its finalisation and repayment of the psychological damage of the girls by the perpetrator. The organisation also appealed to the Minister of Justice and victim B received loans from the Education Fund. Currently, victim B continues going to her school while her sister C has completed her school and now studies in a university with a Chinese scholarship. The girls continue maintaining contacts with the NCAV informing their news.
There are many children and women who gained hope in happy and radiant future in the result of the support of the Centre and, yet, many of them began offering their own support to the NCAV. A woman suffering family violence had nowhere to go after being sheltered at the Centre. Thus the Centre organised support purchasing a ger (a traditional dwelling) for that woman. As this woman now conducts an independent livelihood with her own home, she returned the ger to the Centre so that it could be used by other women suffering the same type of violence.
Such a small collective shares the emotional plight of their clientele going with them through their difficult times striving to assist them in making positive decisions in their lives. They are inspired by the spark of hope in the eyes of children and their mothers and smile on their lips.
Thus the National Centre against Violence implements activities with positive impacts on the society and, as it has become a member of the International Social Service Organisation, the employees of the Centre are also now able to take training and the organisation has been expanding as its employees have developed capacity of implementing activities at the international level.