School of Population Health

CAHRE past events

Asian family violence seminar press release

Family violence, both physical and mental, remains one of the most pertinent issues facing families in Asia today.  Changing the attitudes of not only just the perpetrators but also by the victims is now of utmost importance if family violence is to ever see a decline in these countries.

The types of violence and their effect on victims was the topic of a seminar presented by three prominent Bangladeshi women lawyers, at The University of Auckland’s School of Population Health in late December.

Lead speaker at the seminar was Ms Sigma Huda, one of Bangladesh ’s most senior lawyers and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human trafficking in the Asia-Pacific regions.  Ms Huda was accompanied by Fawzia Karim Firoz and Salma Ali, both also high profile lawyers, members of the Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA) and active in women’s issues through Asian countries.

Research carried out by Ms Huda shows that despite increasing international concerns and recent developments in the recognition of the problem of violence, progress has been slow because attitudes and practices related to family or domestic violence are deeply entrenched.  Many judicial systems in the Asian region do not recognise domestic violence as a crime and in some cases even condone it.

The effects on the victims of domestic violence are enormous. While there is no doubt that the effects of physical violence are profound, the mental stresses of family violence leave scars which can be just as devastating.  Various studies and research show that victim-survivors find on-going psychological violence more unbearable than the physical brutality of family violence, with a woman who has been abused is up to 12 times more likely to commit suicide than one who has not.

Ms Huda concluded the seminar by maintaining that if any progress is to be made in the fight against family violence, societies and governments must first address this disturbing problem is not merely a health or legal issue but also an economic, social, educational, developmental and human rights problem as well.

“The seminar and the topic are very relevant right through Asia and even here in New Zealand”, believes Dr Samson Tse, head of The University of Auckland’s Centre for Asian Health Research and Evaluation (CAHRE).

“A recent research project undertaken here at CAHRE has shown the family violence problems actually travel with immigrants, and often these problems can be exacerbated with the immigration process itself.”

For further information on the seminar or a copy of the presentation given by Ms Huda, please email Mr Vishal Rishi at the School of Population Health at