Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Kingdom and the associated series of precautionary procedures, talks have been on the rise about the importance of investing in social protection policies for individuals and families, specifically those surviving challenging economic circumstances.
While violence against women and children is the most common type of domestic violence, there are multiple other types of it. All types of domestic violence are negatively impactful on the victim, family, and society on the psychological and physical levels, and even social and economic ones.
Therefore, and in line with their belief in the intersectionality of the justice sector, the rule of law, and social protection, the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) and Durrat Al Manal for Development and Training held the dialogue session “Family ties between regulations and social protection networks.” On Monday, 08 August at the Hyatt Amman hotel.
Former Senate Member and Durrat Al Manal’s advisor, Dr Sawsan Al Majali ran the session and initiated it speaking about the Forum for Supporting the Justice Sector. Established in 2017, the forum includes judges, lawyers, civil society actors, social activists, academics, and members of the Ministry of Justice and UNHCR and aims at the reform of the justice sector and definition of social, legal, and rights issues.
The session is part of a series of sessions held between July and December 2022 within the Promoting Public Trust in the Justice Sector via the Social Dialogue project funded by the French embassy. The sessions focus on clarifying the role of social protection networks in Jordan, discussing gaps in addressing domestic violence and violence against women, and the role of the social protection networks in promoting familial cohesion in Jordan.
Colonel Bilal Awamleh, president of the Family Protection Department presented the vision and mission of the department demonstrated in protecting families and their cohesion and eliminating violations against women and children. He pointed to the factors contributing to the increase in cases of violence against women and children such as family breakups, economic challenges, and psychological pressure.
According to Awamleh, the department is functioning on various levels, from providing police and judicial services, to providing social and health services, to prevention and awareness raising to decrease cases of violence against the public in general.
Awamleh stressed that the case management procedures are confidential with increased reporting mechanisms such as phone, social media platforms, or in person at one of the department’s offices. According to Awamleh, the department’s main goal is to achieve “the best interest of families, children, and women” through providing health and psychological services. He noted that “mutual understanding is the basis for familial cohesion.”
Speaking about the protection of guest workers and their families, Linda Alkalash, Executive Director of Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights noted the importance of an assessment of their economic situations and the ramifications of COVID-19 on them. She highlighted that international instruments signed by Jordan call for defining forms of social protection for families regardless of their nationalities.
Alkalash believes that the “main problem” lies within the challenges of reintegrating survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence due to their lack of social acceptance. She called for comprehensive regulations for family protection.
Speaking about the cases received by the council, Dr Mohammad Miqdadi, Secretary General of the National Council for Family Affairs explained that “Two-thirds are violence against women and the remaining one-third is violence against children” with thrice the number of incidents remaining unreported.
According to Miqdadi, psychological issues, underemployment, poverty, and drug use are -if not the main reason- among the leading factors contributing to incidents of violence and familial problems.
As for the family protection system in the Kingdom, Miqdadi explained that the protection from domestic violence law was a quantum leap for legislation. Additionally, Jordan prepared a national document that defines the roles of all institutions within the system.
He stressed the importance of the implementation of the child protection law and effective programming for health and mental health that are currently inaccessible and expensive.
Participants discussed the comprehensive role of institutions providing protection and legal support and the civil society in promoting familial and social cohesion as well as the importance of awareness raising and continuous training and support for first responders to reject violence and provide case management services.
Along with the discussions about the role of institutions and regulations in promoting familial cohesion, there is a need for promoting the preventive role of actors in family protection. It is important to ensure the accessibility of families impacted by domestic violence to all protection, prevention, response, and rehabilitation programs and the punishment of perpetrators of violence and promote kindness and familial cohesion through various tools such as the media and social media platforms.
It is also essential to raise awareness, ensure social and health systems that protect youth, women, and children, develop the capacities of workers in the humanitarian and security sectors, promote awareness-raising programs in regard to violence in general, ensure collaboration among relevant civil society and official actors, focus on mental health services, invest in children, review curriculums, train staff member dealing with survivors of violence, and provide channels for reporting and referral.