Sabah Women’s Action-Resources Group (SAWO) was formed in 1985 by a group of women and men who were concerned about the increasing violence and injustice against women and children in our society. Working together with other women’s groups and NGOs around the country, known collectively as the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), SAWO first made an impact when it launched the national campaign against violence against women (VAW) in Sabah in September 1986 with a two-day public workshop-cum-exhibition. Since then, SAWO has continued to work and lobby for better protection and assistance for women and children.
The work of JAG has directly resulted in many statutory changes, including rape law reforms in 1989 and the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act in 1994. In advancing the needs of VAW survivors, SAWO initiated the first one stop crisis centre (OSCC) in Queen Elizabeth Hospital and continues to advocate for more shelters for women and children in crisis.
Today, SAWO works in a number of roles including providing counselling and support to those in need and delivering training and awareness raising programs in both rural areas across the state as well as locally in Kota Kinabalu.