Geneva – 14 October 2015: The “Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence” by the City of Duluth in the US State of Minnesota is the winner of the 2014 Future Policy Award for Ending Violence against Women and Girls. It beat 24 other nominated policies to the prize. The Gold Award is to be presented to Minnesota Representative Michael Paymar from the Minnesota House of Representatives today at a ceremony in Geneva by the World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women.
The “Duluth Model” won the Gold Award for effectively prioritizing the safety and autonomy of survivors while holding perpetrators to account through a coordinated response involving the whole community. This approach to implementing legislation on violence against women has since inspired violence protection laws and policies in other countries such as Austria, Germany, UK, Romania, and Australia.
On learning about the Gold prize for the pioneering “Duluth Model”, which he helped initiate with the late Dr. Ellen Pence in the early 1980s, Representative Paymar said: “This is a great honor. We never imagined the global impact that the Duluth Model would have, but more importantly how many lives would be saved”.
Jakob von Uexkull, Founder and Chair of the World Future Council, said: “This prize celebrates policies that help us to do the right thing by creating the right rules. We need laws which support a just world and protect the rights of future generations.”
Silver awards were granted to two other policies. Burkina Faso’s Silver Award, to be collected by First Lady Chantal Compaoré, went to its Law Prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation, adopted in 1996. Since then, surveys confirm a significant decrease in the proportion of younger women who have undergone the harmful practice. About 12 per cent of girls under-14 are cut now compared to 25 per cent in 2006. Before the law and the implementation of a National Action Plan, nearly 90 per cent of Burkinabe women were cut with many of them suffering terrible physical and psychological consequences. Today, that figure is at 76 per cent.
Austria received the prize for its law granting psychosocial and legal court assistance for victims of violence during criminal and civil procedure. It effectively safeguards the rights of victims of violence and empowers them during court proceedings. This was a seminal change to the country’s Criminal and Civil Procedure Act.
“Comprehensive laws are a critical first step. Implementing them effectively is just as crucial. These winners show what can be achieved when both aspects are combined. IPU will continue to support parliaments’ efforts to make ending violence against women a reality,” said IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong.
The Council of Europe’s “Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence”, also known as the Istanbul Convention, which came into force in August of this year, won the World Future Council’s first ever “Vision Award” for a particularly promising policy.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director, concluded: “The policies awarded represent truly inspirational models for others. Importantly, the emphasis has also been on rigorous implementation. Political will and sufficient resources are critical for promising legislation to have a real impact on reducing violence against women.”
The Future Policy Award is the only award which honours policies rather than people on an international level. Honorable Mentions were bestowed on Spain’s Organic Act 1/2004 on Integrated Protection Measures against Gender Violence and, in the vision category, on Bolivia’s Law against Political Harassment and Violence against Women from 2012.
The World Future Council will now work to globally raise awareness of the winning model policies and assist policy-makers to develop and implement similar initiatives. On 25 November 2014, the World Future Council, together with its partners UN Women and IPU, will host an interactive panel discussion on the preconditions of successful policy-making and implementation at UN Headquarters in New York. Policy-makers from Minnesota, Austria, Burkina Faso and the Council of Europe will participate. 25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
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