The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many significant changes to our daily functioning. Taking in consideration limitations in our work with women survivors of violence due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic we had to find alternative ways of providing support. For that purpose, we adjusted our work in the form of conducting online counseling or remote counseling.
Online counseling or remote counseling and support is a customized counseling and support program for women who have survived violence and sought help from a Counseling Center run by a women’s organization.
The goal of the protocol is to further build the capacity of project partners and external collaborators in adapting their work to the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic or any similar emergency situation, in order to maintain our work’s continuity and accessibility for GBV survivors who turn to us for help due to the violence they have experienced.
Furthermore, the help and support provided remotely needs to be safe with safety of women being a top priority. For that purpose, in this document we gathered relevant information on devices and equipment for communication, space of counseling, as well as applications that can be used for conducting counseling. The document also refers to other technical and security issues in the process of counseling, as well as the protection of both sides involved in the online counseling process and counselling competencies in an online setting.
Protocol for online counseling was developed within the project “Protection of victims of gender-based violence – response to pandemic challenges (RISKFREE)” financed by the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values program (CERV) of the European Commission.