The public debate aimed to highlight the phenomenon of the increase in violence within the Palestinian society, especially domestic violence, in the absence of the Family Protection Law.
Domestic Violence in the Palestinian society
The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development—REFORM implemented a public debate entitled: “Violence Against Women in the Family” via the electronic application, ZOOM. This session included the participation of Mr. Jihad Harb, a researcher, Ms. Elham Sami, from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Ms. Amal Khreisheh, General Director of the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development, and Mr. Ahmad Elian, the project facilitator, along with the project’s beneficiaries and community activists. Mrs. Shireen Hajal, the project coordinator, indicated that the session aimed to highlight the phenomenon of the increase in violence within the Palestinian society, especially domestic violence, in the absence of the Family Protection Law.
Financing for this initiative was made possible by the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), a flexible and rapid financing tool supporting quality interventions to enhance the capacity of women in Palestine and around the world working to prevent conflict, respond to crises and seize key peacebuilding opportunities. With technical support from UN Women Palestine, this project comes in light of the challenges that women encounter, particularly in Area C and H2 areas of the Hebron Governorate.
At the beginning of the session, Mr. Ahmad Elian, presented statistics on the number of murder cases within the Palestinian society and their annual increase, where there were (26) cases in 2013, (27) cases in 2014, (15) cases in 2015, (23) cases in 2016 and (27) cases in 2017. During 2020, there were (39) cases, including 24 women and children.
Additionally, Mr. jihad Harb discussed the concept and forms of violence against women and highlighted the results of a survey conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2011 and 2019, which indicated that violence practiced against women in the public sphere, such as in the street, is less than the violence committed against women inside the family.
Mr. Harb also addressed to the statistics of the Family Protection Unit in the Palestinian police between 2016-2019, as the cases of violence increased from (3,200) to (3,800), indicating an increase in awareness amongst women to report cases of violence to which they are exposed. He further stressed the need to work on combating violence and its effects by strengthening the role of formal and informal institutions in spreading societal awareness on the danger of the spread of violence and its impact on the social fabric, developing tools and mechanisms to protect women who are subjected to violence and intensifying efforts to pass the Family Protection Law. He further emphasized the need to raise awareness on these issues by changing the Palestinian curricula, activating social accountability tools and preserving the dignity of women.
The Social Impacts of Violence against Women
Moreover, Ms. Elham Sami highlighted the increase in the cases of violence against women, especially during the Coronavirus outbreak, as the percentage of women benefiting from social care services at the Palestinian Ministry of Development increased. Ms. Sami also emphasized the need to review the service distribution areas and the available technical and human resources to ensure the provision of social care for women who are subjected to violence. She also stressed the need to review unfair laws and legislations in regard to women, in light of the urgent need for the implementation of numerous laws, not only the Family Protection Law.
Ms. Amal Khreisheh referred to the cases that the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development dealt with during the Coronavirus pandemic through phone calls, where 3,125 cases were received, of whom 2,865 were females and 119 were males, as they were subjected to various forms of violence. These numbers are a dangerous indicator in light of women’s limited ability to reach safety houses, the inadequacy of the national referral system in dealing with women who are subjected to violence under the declared state of emergency and the absence of the legal system that must provide protection for women who are subjected to violence. Ms. Khreisheh emphasized the necessity of reviewing all procedures and policies to protect women from violence, inside and outside the home, and developing the national referral system.
ABOUT the project
This session comes as part of the “Women in Conflict Prevention in Hebron – Palestine” Project, implemented by The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development—REFORM, in partnership with the Rural Women’s Development Society (RWDS) and in cooperation with the Arab Educational Institute. This project aims to increase women’s participation in decision-making processes and enhance the role of both women and men in building safe societies responsive to the needs of women.
The Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) mobilizes critical financial support for local and grassroots civil-society organizations working on women, peace and security and humanitarian action. Since its launch in 2016, WPHF has funded over 200 civil-society organizations in 25 countries supporting women on the front lines to be a force for crisis response and lasting peace.