New forms of family appear: survey

The first national survey on Vietnamese families was released on June 26, revealing surprising information. Notably, there are a lot of parents who don’t pay attention to their children and domestic violence exists in a high number of families.

Gender equality o­n the rise


The survey was conducted by the Family Department of the Population, Family and Children Committee in coordination with the General Statistics Office, the Family Research Institute of Australia and the Family and Gender Research Institute under the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2006.


Members of 9,300 families, including adults, children, teenagers and the elderly in all 64 provinces and cities of Vietnam were interviewed. The survey shows that householders are wives, husbands or both. This means that gender equality in Vietnamese families is increasing.


Up to 80% of the interviewees admitted out-of-marriage sexual relations, especially the elderly and young people.


Popular domestic violence forms included beating, verbal abuse and forced sexual relations. Around 3.4% of husbands beat their wives and 0.6% of women hit their husbands. 15.1% of husbands insulted their wives while 8.5% of wives insulted their husbands.


Women and children were the major victims of domestic violence. Drunkenness among men, wrong business decisions, money-related problems, adultery, and gambling were the main reasons for altercations and conflicts in families.


Notably, domestic violence is considered an internal affair of the family so police and social organisations don’t intervene in these cases.


Vice Representative of UNICEF in Vietnam, Maniza Zaman, said: “One of the major solutions is to change the attitude and the conception of society towards domestic violence so that the act is not seen as normal and acceptable in families.”


The survey also reveals the appearance of new forms of family in Vietnam, for example single-mother and single-father families. The number of divorce cases also rose, because of economic pressures, differences of lifestyle and unfaithfulness of wives or husbands.


No time for children


Most of the interviewees said bringing up children is an important function of families. The conception of the number of children changed remarkably.


Only 18.6% of the elderly, 6.6% of people between the ages of 18-20, and 2.8% of teenagers believed that couples need to have many children. Families say that it is important to take care of and bring up children. However, many people still prefer boys to girls.


Parents felt that they didn’t spend enough time with their children. Women’s time for children is 6 times more than that of men. 20% of fathers and 7% of mothers didn’t give any time to taking care of their children because they had to earn their living. This resulted in the bad development of spirit, intelligence and sentiments of children, according to the parents.


Over 80% of children between the ages of 15-17 said their parents allowed them to make decisions in their lives. Over half of the elderly said they faced many difficulties like bad health, lack of money for health care and daily needs.


Most of the elderly supported their children by supplying money, advice or babysitting.             


Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai said data collected from this survey will be archived as material for building family policies.