We stand with women. We protect and support them!

Project: „We stand with women. We protect and support them!“ // Slovak version

Project code: DGV02013

Programme: Domestic and Gender Based Violence

Region: Košice Region

Project duration: May 2022 – April 2024

Project grant amount: 486 622,00 €

Project promoter: Fenestra

Project partners: OZ HANA, POMOC RODINE

Project contract no. 412/2022

The project focuses on women – survivors of intimate partner violence and their children.  Violence that women and their children experience negatively impacts all areas of their lives – their physical and psychological well-being, their sense of safety, their performance at work or school, their economic situation, and, due to social isolation from people, also their relationships and sources of support. Therefore, women – survivors of intimate partner violence and their children need support services and institutions that will protect them effectively, help them recover from the experience of abuse and support them so that they can live a life free from violence. They need a good and well-coordinated system of protection, help and support that responds to their needs and is informed by the latest knowledge on the specific nature of intimate partner violence and specific risks to safety of women and their children.

The project aim is to increase availability of specialist counselling centres for women – survivors of intimate partner violence and their children in Kosice region by enhancing and increasing the quality of support services in the existing counselling centres in Košice, Michalovce and Spišská Nová Ves and establishing new counselling centres in Rožňava, Gelnica and Sobrance. At the same time, our aim is to make information about the counselling centres and help and support they provide more available to women in Košice region and to improve the response of institutions where women and children seek protection from violence

Project activities

Help and support for women and their children available in the existing counselling centres

Fenestra and project partners – OZ HANA and Pomoc rodine – operate counselling centres in Košice, Spišská Nova Ves and Michalovce. Support services we provide meet the CoE Minimum standards for support services. We provide safe space for women to share their experience with intimate partner violence, social, specialised, and psychological counselling including risk assessment and risk management. In addition, we provide legal counselling, legal aid, and legal representation to women. Our support services are there for women for as long as they need them and are free-of-charge. We are planning to enhance the capacity of the existing counselling centres by taking on new counsellors.

At the present time, all three existing counselling centres are child-friendly and provide a safe space for play to children with an experienced counsellor attending to their needs while their mother is in her counselling session. We want to expand psychological support for children in relation to court and police hearings. Also, we are planning to provide individual or group sessions for children with a psychologist to help them overcome social isolation and reduce the negative impact of violence on their psychological well-being.

Apart from that, our aim is to continue improving the quality of our support services via regular supervision for counsellors, regular meetings of counsellors and psychologists, as well as lawyers, from the counselling centres in Košice region. Besides improving expertise of our staff and quality of their work, our goal is to create space for exchange of information and experience.

Increasing availability of help and support for women in Kosice Self-governing region – establishing new counselling centres

We will set up 3 new counselling centres in Rožňava, Gelnica, and Sobrance as branches of our existing counselling centres. The aim of this activity is to increase availability of support services for women – survivors of intimate partner violence in Kosice region in districts where there are currently no other support services.

The new counselling centres will provide basic support to children of women – survivors of intimate partner violence in the form of creating a child-friendly and safe space for them tailored to their needs when they come to counselling centres with their mothers and wait for them while their mothers are in their counselling sessions. The child-friendly space will allow women to bring their young children to a place well-equipped for such situations. This is an important form of support as there are many women with small children who contact counselling centres and who have no one to look after their child. The new counselling centres will gradually expand the scope of support for children.

Networking, multi-agency cooperation, outreach and education

This activity involves networking of lawyers providing legal aid and representation to women – survivors of intimate partner violence and their children in criminal and civil proceedings. First, the lawyers working with the Applicant, Partner 1 and Partner 2 will meet to pool useful practice and knowledge and prepare materials for an online information HUB for lawyers. We will then organize 3 webinars for lawyers – a kick-off webinar, educational webinar on intimate partner violence in the context of court and police proceedings, and a webinar introducing lawyers to the online HUB. The aim of networking is to improve access of women to justice and to legal aid.

Multi agency cooperation will involve members of working groups coordinated by Fenestra, OZ HANA and Pomoc rodine in their respective cities. The working groups are composed of professionals from relevant institutions – the police, child protection authority, local municipalities and other. The groups will meet regularly and contribute their experience and knowledge to the development of materials for online information HUBs on intimate partner violence for other professionals. 

Outreach will focus on two groups – local municipalities and institutions in districts where the new counselling centres will be established – Rožňava, Gelnica, and Sobrance – and community centres and field social workers in Roma communities in Kosice region. Our aim is to provide information on support services for women and what they do to improve access of women, including Roma women and women living in remote rural areas to help and support.

We will approach 14 local municipalities and institutions with a view to providing information to them about our new counselling centres so that they can provide relevant information on the available help and support. Such information can support women to seek help.

Since the existing counselling centres, as well as the newly established ones operate and will operate in districts where marginalised Roma communities live, we will approach 18 community centres and field social workers in municipalities they work for. Community and field social workers know the communities, have access to women and are familiar with their specific situation and needs. We will inform them about the support services provided by our counselling centres and will discuss possible cooperation with them.

We will prepare and carry out 6 workshops with a view to supporting community and field social workers in working with Roma women experiencing intimate partner violence in a way that will lead to their safety being increased, their needs being addressed and that will empower them. 

Education campaign 1 will focus on the police as one of the key institutions responsible for the protection of women experiencing intimate partner violence and their children and for holding the perpetrators accountable. The education campaigns will be carried out locally, the level Košice, Košice okolie, Rožňava, Spišská Nová Ves, Gelnica, Michalovce and Sobrance districts. We will arrange meetings with regional and district police forces directors to establish rapport and get them involved in the process of education.  Next, we will implement a series of 3 workshops for police officers in the above districts. Each series of workshops will focus on a particular topic related to police intervention in cases of intimate partner violence. Workshops will focus primarily on skills such as identifying intimate partner violence, understanding risk factors, ensuring the intervention results in increased safety of women and children, as well as on holding the perpetrators accountable. These are basic skills necessary for an effective police intervention. Our goal is to create an open training platform in future – the series of workshops will be available continuously and police officers interested in the training will be able to apply and take part in it. We see such a platform as a response to high turnover rate in the police forces. 

Apart from that, we will create an online HUB – information and knowledge centre for the police, which will consist of various learning materials, infographics, and videos on relevant aspects of police intervention in cases of intimate partner violence against women. We will then present the online HUB to police officers via a webinar. The online HUB will be a tool for making relevant knowledge and information on intimate partner violence against women to all police officers interested in the issue. We will invite members of working groups in Košice, Michalovce and Spišská Nová Ves to contribute their knowledge, experience, and feedback to the content of online hub.

Education campaign 2 will be focused on professionals working in child protection, specifically on the protection of children of women – survivors of intimate partner violence such as the child protection authority, coordinators of the unified multi-disciplinary approach to child protection working with district and regional courts. We will particularly focus on the context of child custody and visitation rights court proceedings.  They have a key role in ensuring long-term safety of women and their children. This is important as experience and research show that abusive husbands and partners of women continue their abusive behaviour even after women end the relationship. One of the ways they use to maintain power and control over lives of women and their children is child custody proceedings. Therefore, it is necessary for the above professionals to be able to identify the patterns of abusive behaviour, as well as risk factors in the behaviour of abusers.  

We will prepare and carry out 3 workshops for professionals and institutions responsible for child protection in Košice, Košice okolie and Rožňava, Spišská Nová Ves, Gelnica, Michalovce and Sobrance districts.    

We will create an online learning HUB with various learning materials, infographics and videos focusing on the specific aspects of intimate partner violence against women these professionals and institutions deal with. We will present the online HUB to child protection professionals via a webinar. The online HUB will be a tool for making relevant knowledge and information on intimate partner violence against women to all child protection professionals interested in the issue. We will invite members of working groups in Košice, Michalovce and Spišská Nová Ves to contribute their knowledge, experience, and feedback to the content of online hub.

Awareness raising campaign

We will prepare and carry out a campaign providing information about specialist support services to women – new and existing counselling centres in six districts of Košice region – Košice, Rožňava, Spišská Nová Ves, Gelnica, Michalovce and Sobrance. We are planning to specifically promote the new counselling centres in Rožňava, Gelnica and Sobrance. We find it particularly important since they will serve women and their children in districts where there are currently no support services available to them. The campaign will provide and promote information about the counselling centres, as well as useful information on what they do, how they work, how they can support women and their children and what the key principles of their work are with a view to answering questions women may have about counselling centres.

To do so, we will use multiple communication channels – a video spot promoted on the websites and social media, information leaflets and stickers to be placed in public spaces and institutions/agencies frequented by women, advertising on long-distance coaches operating in the above-mentioned districts, articles and advertisements in local print or electronic newspapers, and interviews to promote the services.

We will also design and create supporting posts on social media to provide more information on the support services available in the counselling centres and address questions that women may have about them. In preparing the content of the posts, we will draw on our experience in working with women – survivors of intimate partner violence and their children.

Publicity and auxiliary activities

The aim of activities carried out within project publicity is to ensure informing and raising awareness about the project, its activities, support from the financial mechanism, the existence of programme and its objectives. To do so, we will organize 3 conferences for professional public – professionals from relevant state and public institutions and local municipalities. We will prepare and issue one press release at the time of the opening conference and one at the eve of the closing conference. We will develop a separate web page about the project on the Project Promoter’s web site. Project partners will also inform about the project on their web sites.

We are planning to promote the project also via articles in print and electronic media and in local TV and radio stations. To promote overall outcomes and outputs of the project, we will prepare an infographic presenting what has been achieved in the project and informing about the support from financial mechanism. The infographic will be promoted online on the project web page, we will distribute its printed version to all participants of project closing conference and present the outcomes and outputs in the conference, too. We will have promotional products produced and distribute them within implementation of project activities with a view to making the support from financial mechanism visible and recognized. We will also place promotional posters at venues where the individual project activities will be taking place.

Norway grants

The Norway Grants represent Norway’s contribution towards a green, competitive and inclusive Europe. Through the Norway Grants, Norway contributes to reducing social and economic disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations with beneficiary countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics. Norway cooperates closely with the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). Together with the other donors, Norway has provided €3.3 billion through consecutive grant schemes between 1994 and 2014. Norway Grants are financed solely by Norway and are available in the countries that joined the EU after 2003. For the period 2014-2021, the Norway Grants amount to €1.25 billion.

The priorities for this period are:

#1 Innovation, Research, Education, Competitiveness and Decent Work
#2 Social Inclusion, Youth Employment and Poverty Reduction

#3 Environment, Energy, Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy
#4 Culture, Civil Society, Good Governance and Fundamental Rights
#5 Justice and Home Affairs

All projects are co-financed from the state budget of the Slovak Republic in the amount of 15%.

To learn more about the programmes and projects funded by Norway Grants in Slovakia visit www.norwaygrants.sk.

Working together for an inclusive Europe

Fenestra, OZ Hana and Pomoc rodine are responsible for the content of project web page. The Programme Operator shall bear no responsibility for any information published on the project web page.

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