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SWWS Press Release: Building a Survivor-Centric Future

Sarawak Women for Women Society - Press Release - 15 July 2023

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Photo of those present for OSCC Meeting discussion

YB Nancy Shukri, the Minister for Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, recently called for a meeting to discuss how to improve services for rape survivors approaching the One-Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC), based at all major general hospitals in Sarawak, in response to concerns being expressed on social media.

Present at the meeting were staff from Sarawak General Hospital, including the Emergency & Trauma Department (ETD), One-Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) team and medical staff; Police from Section D11 (Sexual Investigation, Women and Children, PDRM); social workers from Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) Sarawak and Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS). The discussion was for all parties to understand the One-Stop Crisis Centre’s (OSCC) policy and to find ways of improving the multi-agency collaboration so a survivor-centred approach is central to the running of the service.

The OSCC is a 24 hour daily service that caters to all people experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect. OSCC functions to provide a safe place, treatment and multi-level crisis intervention to survivors, and to ensure the delivery of optimal care and evidence management for the survivors.

The meeting confirmed that a survivor-centred approach should underpin all efforts to respond to gender-based violence (GBV) emergencies.

At the heart of a survivor-centred approach are the following four guiding principles:

  1. Safety: The safety and security of the survivor and her children should be the number one priority for GBV frontliners. It is important to remember that when women and girls disclose an incident of GBV, they are at high risk of experiencing reprisal attacks from perpetrators and those that might seek to protect them.
  2. Confidentiality: GBV frontliners should not share information about a survivor without their explicit permission and informed consent. However, there are some limits to confidentiality, e.g., when mandatory reporting procedures are in place, and when it comes to work with child survivors when decisions should be led by what is in the best interests of the child.
  3. Respect: GBV frontliners should be guided by respect for the rights and dignity of the survivor. They should not judge the choices of a survivor, but rather trust that she knows best if and when to access assistance and/or police and legal intervention.
  4. Non-Discrimination: Frontliners should treat all survivors equally, regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, HIV status and disability status.

YB Nancy Shukri shared that she will be discussing with YB Zaliha Mustafa, the Minister of Health, regarding revising the procedures for OSCC so they allow survivors to have the option of having a medical examination before deciding, within 72 hours, whether or not to lodge a police report. The current procedure in accordance with the OSCC Policy 2015, is that a police report must be made before the police release an order requesting the doctor to examine and collect evidence with the consent of the person for the purposes of assisting an investigation.

Another outcome of the meeting was to appeal to the press to bring to the public’s attention the operation of OSCC by printing the attached flowchart. All attending agreed that by enhancing multi-agency collaboration; adhering to the principles outlined and by giving clear information to the public on the services available, survivors of abuse will be better served. For those living in Sarawak currently experiencing abuse they can go to the OSCC at Sarawak General Hospital, Hospital Miri, Hospital Sibu, Hospital Serian, Hospital Bintulu, Hospital Sri Aman and Hospital Sarikei. However, those who are abused and in a crisis can approach ETD at any government hospitals. Women who experience violence are encouraged to contact SWWS’s WINNE Line 016-5822660 (Mon 7pm-9pm, Tues-Thurs 9.30am-11.30am, Sat 2pm-4pm).

Flowchart For Handling OSCC - Crisis Intervention Level 1: Initial Management