Article Index

„SUPPORT TO WOMEN VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE“

supported by WWDP

The project has been implemented in duration of 12 months, from the 01st of January to 31st of December 2007. The goal of the project was primary, secondary and tertian prevention of domestic violence through counselling work with women victims of domestic violence, training for women, work on emancipation of girls and young women and public work, lobbying and awareness raising on those issues that are important for women.

The majority ofproject activities was relating to direct support to women victims of domestic violence through offering support on the SOS help line, individual and group counselling work and involvement in groups for support. Beside the direct counselling support for victims of domestic violence, it is important to mention the activities aimed at the emancipation of girls and young women as well as the work in the community aimed at further development of sensibility and responsiveness in the local community.

1.1 The SOS help line worked every day from 17:00 to 21:00. We choose this time because after 17:00, there are no state institutions, except the police and the health institutions that are open and where women could ask for support. But, according to our experience, it is this time period when the violence often happens. During the project there were 87 women who asked for help on the SOS help line, 27 of them called twice or more. Help was requested also by 18 children and 11 men (in one case the violator on a man was his wife and in 10 cases the violators were grown-up children). A total number of 272 interventions were provided on the SOS help line. This is a relatively small number of services offered, but it is significant because in all these cases we are talking about people who were never asking for support in the past. The anonymity of the SOS help line encouraged them to begin to talk about their problems. In our contacts with representatives of other institutions, first of all the police, we found out that in the reporting period the number of requested help in their institutions was three times as high as it was in the last few years. It is indisputable that the work on the SOS help line and the public work on awareness raising on domestic violence, which has been done by our project team certainly contributed to this high number.

Support on the SOS help line was provided by 4 professionals (doctor-gynaecologist, psychologist, lawyer and social worker) who are additionally educated to provide support for victims of domestic violence. This sort of practice proved to be very good according to the beneficiaries themselves. As a result, the beneficiaries had trust in us and they participated often in our counselling activities and became involved in individual and group counselling work.

1.2 Throughout the project duration we provided individual counselling support each Tuesday from 16:00 to 18:00. Individual counselling treatments were provided for 87 people, from this number 67 are women, 15 children and 5 men, 22 clients required support several times, which makes a total number of 154 treatments that have been provided.

1.3 Group counselling support has been provided once a month. The groups were consisting of 7 to 10 women victims of domestic violence. This project activity was led by 2 female professionals. We organised 12 group counselling treatments.

Although the project did not foresee it, there was a need for work with the children of those women who participated in our treatments so that one of the forms of help was group counselling work with these children. We organised 6 workshops with children. The resources for this activity were not foreseen in the project and the leaders did it on a voluntary basis.

1.4 The meeting of the supportive group with 6 to 8 participants was organised once a month. The supportive groups were led-moderated in couples – one professional and one member of the group of clients. The leaders-moderators of these activities were four female professionals and four clients (each of them was leading three workshops) who, in a great extent, overcame the difficulties caused by domestic violence to which they have been exposed and who wanted to share their experience with the group by using their knowledge and skills gained in the education. This activity was very well accepted and the group members organised meetings on their own initiative.

2. The education for 15 members and associates of the NGO Women’s centre to offer initial support to victims of domestic violence was intended to improve the organisational capacity and to provide conditions to offer more appropriate and qualitative help. The five-day education has been organised from 11th to 15th of June 2007. The educators were three persons highly educated in this field, the Director of the NGO Women’s centre, a professional associate from the police and a judge. The education was organised on the subject: Primary, secondary and tertian prevention from domestic violence.

The participants of the education will use the gained knowledge and skills to offer initial support to the victim and to educate others to offer support to victims of violence. It will also contribute to the breaking of barriers in the community and to awareness change regarding this issue.

3. Throughout the project period we have organised 12 workshops with girls and young women. Workshops were organised once a month in duration of 4 hours with 15 to 22 participants. The workshops leaders were female professionals, specially educated for work with girls and young women. The aim of these workshops was to influence their emancipation, strengthen their personalities, capacity development, development of skills for overcoming of conflicts, non-violent communication and preparation for qualitative partnership and responsible parenthood as well as the protection of physical and mental health, handling with stress, adoption of healthy ways of living and all this as a primary prevention. This activity was highly marked by the participants and they expressed their wish to continue these and similar activities.

Throughout the project period many other younger people came and expressed their wish to become involved in these and similar activities.

4. The goal of the project was also to provoke changes in the local community. Through radio emissions and round tables we tried to promote the so far achieved results of the NGO Women’s centre, to encourage the public to start to do more in the domestic violence issue, to encourage victims to denounce the violence and to continue the process of sensibilisation in the community and to advocate for a persistent appliance of positive legal regulations, establishment of alimony funds for women victims of domestic violence, establishment of a safe house, creation of privileges for the employment of victims etc.

The round tables were also very important for the deepening of partnership among the actors in the community that work in this field.

We have organised 4 round tables with 15 participants on each. The introduction part and the moderation on round tables were done by 2 members of the NGO Women’s centre. They were also participants in radio emissions.

Round tables have been organised on the following dates:

  • 1st Round table – 16th of March 2007

  • 2nd Round table – 16th of June 2007

  • 3rd Round table – 14th of September 2007

  • 4th Round table – 14th of December 2007

Radio emissions were broadcasted on the local radio station in the rented times on the following dates:

  • 2nd of March 2007

  • 1st of June 2007

  • 7th of September 2007

  • 6th of December 2007

The radio emissions provoked a lot of interest and while they were broadcasted a number of listeners called to ask questions or to give their comment.

Beside the above described activities, we also organised joint activities with children and celebrations. In three cases it was necessary to work with the complete family. These activities were identified as necessary by the women victims of domestic violence who were using individual and group project activities. The idea was to influence, through joint celebrations and picnics, better integration of our beneficiaries in the social environment.

All proposed activities have been completely implemented.

Support on the SOS help line was requested by 87 women, for 27 of them help was required twice or more. Support was also requested by 18 children and 11 men, a total number of 116 people.

Individual counselling support was requested by 87 people, 67 of them were women, 5 men and 15 children. Ten women are involved in group activities.

A total number of 213 people used the direct counselling support.

The listed information show that ninety percent of the beneficiaries are women.

The five-day education encompassed 15 people.

The workshops for girls and young women included 20 people.

There were 15 participants on each round table. An equal number of women and men were participating on our round tables.

The total number of direct beneficiaries of the above mentioned activities is 263.

From 263 direct beneficiaries, 90% of beneficiaries are women, 4% are men and 6% are children.

It is very difficult to assess how many listeners followed the radio emissions but it is indisputable that it was a high number of people, which was confirmed in the survey undertaken among the citizens.

The project goals and the project purposewere completely fulfilled. The goal of this project was to provide direct support for women victims of domestic violence and their children, secondary and tertian prevention of domestic violence but also to have a long term impact on the reduction of this phenomenon.

Positive changes are particularly noticeable in those people who were involved in individual and group counselling work for a longer time period. They were going through all four phases of therapeutic work: the security establishment phase, the stabilisation phase, the phase to overcome the trauma, memories and regret and the phase to integrate the trauma and re-establish relations. This helped them to become stable in all parts of their life. Their positive changes also reflected on their parental capabilities.

The overall improvement on the level of a family system was also reinforced through the work with children and in three cases with the whole family.

The five-day education in primary, secondary and tertian prevention for 15 members and associates of the NGO Women’s centre improved the capacity of our organisation and created preconditions for provision of better and more qualitative support.

Work with girls and young women is part of the primary prevention, which is considered as the queen of all battles.

Through the round tables and radio emissions we continued the process of sensibilisation within the local community and to advocate for a persistent appliance of positive legal regulations, initiation of innovations to protect the victim – establishment of alimony funds, privileges in the employment procedure, foundation of a safe house etc.

We also want to stress that the project team gained new experiences during the implementation of this project, which will be useful in our future work.

There were no serious obstacles or difficulties during the project implementation. Some obstacles caused through the traditional attitudes and occasional technical difficulties on the SOS help line have been understood as a challenge and they were successfully overcome.

We want to mention as a specific success of this project work in supportive groups, joint celebrations, picnics etc. because these activities showed the real results of our work and made the recovery of women victims of domestic violence visible. The involvement of children in various activities is also of great importance.

The education for 15 members and associates of the NGO Women’s centre will provide the possibility to use the gained knowledge and skills for offering of initial support and to educate others. Beside the direct support and benefit for the project beneficiaries, they were also involved in the project implementation. We are repeating that the beneficiaries of services of the Women’s centre were participating in the initiation and preparation of this project; four female clients were leading the supportive groups and in the group work with girls and young women, we consulted the participants regarding the subjects for the workshops.