Abortion is only legal in Indonesia for medical emergencies and in cases of rape within the first six weeks of pregnancy. However, lack of standard processes for assisting survivors of sexual violence has left them struggling to access abortion care within such a narrow timeframe.
Consistent practices and strong partnerships between law enforcement, health systems and community services are critical to ensure violence survivors can exercise their right to abortion. That’s why Ipas Indonesia is working with hospitals and health workers, police and community-based organizations to expand abortion access for those who need it.
“Ipas Indonesia is supporting multiple access points where sexual violence survivors are treated,” says Marcia Soumokil, director of Ipas Indonesia. “Our hospital-based and police station-based protocols are providing timely access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, including safe abortion, as well as assistance with reporting and referrals, that centers survivors and values their rights and needs—as now mandated by the recently signed Indonesia Sexual Violence Bill. Through dynamic partnerships with government, facilities and community-based organizations, we are demonstrating the feasibility and sustainability of high-quality abortion care for survivors of sexual violence.”
Working closely with the Police Force Provincial Hospital in Semarang City and Police Force Provincial Health Division in Central Java, Ipas is developing clinical protocols and referral methods, as well as providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care for survivors of sexual violence. Ipas is also working with health facilities, medical associations and universities to help health-care providers sustainably incorporate abortion provision and care for sexual violence survivors into their existing services. Ipas support includes activities to reduce stigma and increase empathy among providers.
Ipas Indonesia partners with several local community-based organizations and alliances working on women’s health and rights—including Kongres Ulama Perempuan Indonesia (KUPI), PKBI Jawa Tengah, CEDAW Working Group Indonesia and Institute for Criminal Justice Reform. Together they train policymakers, police, journalists, religious leaders and community leaders on the public health problem of unsafe abortion, the importance of expanding women’s and girls’ access to safe abortion care, and how to advocate in all sectors of society to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights.
There is currently no guidance for the police force on how to address reported cases of rape and refer to abortion services in such cases when necessary. To answer this need, Ipas partnered with the National Police force to launch a protocol for police stations. Ongoing work includes building support from allies in Parliament to develop standards and guidelines for a survivor-centered approach to violence against women and children, including cases of sexual violence and rape.
“The collaboration with Ipas Indonesia assists us in strengthening the Forensic Clinic as a one stop service at our Provincial Police Hospital to respond comprehensively to health needs of the victims, including safe abortion. In addition, we managed to work in strengthening the referral system from the police health units/clinics in the districts to the Provincial Police Hospital in Semarang, to ensure timely access and quality service for the survivors.”
Sr. Commissioner Dr. Sumy Hastry Purwanti, head of health division, Central Java Police Force