See also National Action Plans and Strategies in the Implementation Section of this Module.
Drafters should require in legislation the development of a national plan of action to combat the maltreatment of widows.
UN Women’s Handbook for National Action Plans on Violence Against Women (2012) recommends that national action plans should outline a comprehensive, coherent, and sustained programme of activity that builds evidence and practice over time, including the following elements:
Additional guidance can be found in the Beijing Platform for Action, which calls upon states to promulgate national plans of action. The Beijing Platform for Action recommends involving broad participation in the plan by national bodies that work on the advancement of women, the private sector, and other relevant institutions, including “legislative bodies, academic and research institutions, professional associations, trade unions, cooperatives, local community groups, non-governmental organizations, including women’s organizations and feminist groups, the media, religious groups, youth organizations and cultural groups, as well as financial and non-profit organizations” (Paras. 294-95). Drafters should ensure that consultation is carried out with widows and civil society and takes into account the current context. The platform also emphasizes the importance of involving actors at the highest political levels, ensuring appropriate staffing and protocols are in place within ministries, having stakeholders review their goals, programs, and procedures within the framework of the plan, and engaging the media and public education to promote awareness of the plan (Para. 296). The plan should also address the roles and responsibilities of actors charged with implementing the plan. In this case, drafters should seek to engage and charge a wide range of actors as machinery for implementation. Relevant institutions include police, prosecutors, the judiciary, social services, children’s and juvenile authorities, equal opportunities offices, crime victim units, education, public health, prison and probationary authorities, disability agencies, administrative boards, immigration bureaus, cultural, religious, immigrant and ethnic community liaison offices, welfare, housing, religious groups, customary and local officials, offices working on issues related to women and girls, and civil society.
Drafters should mainstream women and girls’ human rights across diverse agency policies. They should ensure that other national development plans and poverty reduction strategies incorporate the relevant human rights standards related to women and girls into such programming and budgets. (See: Theme: Addressing Gender Equality: A Persistent Challenge for Africa, Joint AU/ECA Conference of Ministers of Gender and Women’s Affairs, Aug. 25-29, 2008, p. 3)
Drafters should ensure that national plans and policies on ageing specifically address the needs of widows. For example, Turkey’s National Action Plan on Ageing (2007) contains important data on widows and sets out specific social protection measures that address their needs. India’s National Policy on Senior Citizens (2011) notes that 50% of women over the age of 80 in India are widows and that they are in need of special attention.
Tools for developing national action plans:
Handbook for National Action Plans on Violence Against Women, UN Women (2012).
The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing Guiding Framework and Toolkit Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing Guiding Framework and Toolkit is a guide for state and non-state actors who are engaged in a process of developing national plans and policies on ageing.
Promising Practice: Sweden has developed an Action Plan for Combating Men’s Violence against Women, Violence and Oppression in the Name of Honour and Violence in Same-sex Relationships. The plan focuses on six main strategies:
It outlines several measures pertaining to each of the six strategies. In developing the plan, the Swedish Government adopted an overarching policy approach that uses a victim-centered approach and draws upon research. Its policy “overrid[es] ministry and agency lines, with the perspective of those at risk as the point of departure and based on the knowledge available on the areas concerned.”
Promising Practice: In 2011, the Republic of Kiribati published a national Action Plan detailing the government’s dedication to ending all gender and sexual-based violence in Kiribati. The five key Strategic Areas which form the Policy’s main intervention are as follows:
Promising Practice: In 2011, the United Kingdom developed a comprehensive Action Plan – A Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls. The plan for preventing violence has four main goals, and lays out a framework for achieving each goal:
The government rightly acknowledged that one of the main difficulties in combatting violence against women and girls is the ability to enforce national legislation and action plans on the local level. To that end, they also pledged significant resources to “specialist” violence against women services.
The plan also discusses in detail the importance of first response to violence matters, provision of services to victims and the administration of justice to perpetrators. Finally, the government commits to reviewing the plan of action on a regular basis, stated in the report as six months.