Women’s Room – Center for Sexual Rights has organized a three-day training called “The Role of Social Welfare Centers in Providing Assistance and Support to Victims of Gender-based Violence”. Training was held from June 10th to June 12th 2014 in Donja Stubica. The main objective of the training was exchanging experiences in combating violence against women and the creation of an informal network of organizations of civil society that work together to advocate for and achieve positive change in the protection of the rights of women victims of violence.
After an introductory greeting of the training participants, Antonija Hojt Ilić presented the achievements that were made on the project thus far, and also the next steps that will be taken.
One of the speakers was Maria Rösslhumer, executive director of the European Network Against Violence Against Women (Women Against Violence Europe – WAVE), chairwoman of the Network of Autonomous Austrian Women’s Shelters and help-line against violence against women. Maria Rösslhumer started by emphasizing the good relationship WAVE network has with the Croatian organizations of civil society that work with women victims of violence and the efforts being undertaken to join forces in combating violence against women. After the presentation of the Network of Autonomous Austrian Women’s Shelters, the work of the WAVE network, National help-line for women survivors of violence, intervention centers, counseling centers (for victims of sexual violence, victims of trafficking, victims of forced marriages, victims of violence, services for immigrants, etc), and a review of specialized services operating in Austria in the field of protection and assistance for women and their children from violence, she also presented the Program for Working with Perpetrators of Violence that is being carried out in this European country. Participants of the training were especially explained the connection of the work of the Intervention Centers, pro-active centers operating in nine Austrian counties in which they provide special services in case of expulsion of the perpetrator from the home, the Austrian police and the Program for Working with Perpetrators of Violence. The law prescribes cooperation between police and Intervention Centers that contact the victim after police intervention and offer her help and support. In her final part of the presentation, Maria Rösslhumer defined the meaning of the term shelter for women and the concept of autonomy and pointed out that it is necessary that they be guided by the organizations of civil society working on addressing violence against women as the victims showed greater trust in them.
At the beginning of the second day of the training a presentation was held by Štefica Karačić, president of the Croatian Association of Social Workers. Karačić presented the roles and responsibilities of social welfare centers in the field of combating gender-based violence. She firstly presented the rights of the social welfare users and the jurisdiction of the social welfare centers. She finished by presenting the acting procedure of the staff of the social welfare centers in case of domestic violence. The training participants were familiarized with the procedure of reporting violence to the police, social interventions, the extent of the treatment, the procedure of conducting initial interviews with the victim and then the extent of treatment, providing accommodation in shelters for women victims of violence (if necessary) and the working on an actual safety plan, drafted with women survivors of violence.
After discussing the topics of the new Family Bill, the current status and rights of victims of domestic violence and victims of sexual violence, the possibilities of cooperation in social welfare centers and organizations of civil society, the status and rights of victims of trafficking in the welfare system and the sensitization and training for social welfare centers staff; the training participants worked on developing a media campaign against violence against women as part of the “Through Education Knowledge – Through Cooperation for Change” project.
Training was held as a part of the project “Through Education Knowledge – Through Cooperation for Change,” financially supported by the National Foundation for Civil Society Development. The project is being implemented by the Women’s Room – Center for Sexual rights as the holder of the project, Association of Women – HERA, Križevci, Center for Women – Adela, Sisak, Association Brod – Group for Women’s Human Rights, and SOS Phone – City of Rijeka, Association for Providing Help to Victims of Violence.