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Doing It Right: Making Women's Networks Accessible with a Special Focus on Women from Minority and Disadvantaged Groups
A new research report on increasing the accessibility of civil society networks, especially for women from minority and disadvantaged groups, has been released by WAVE, under the EU–UN Women regional programme, ‘Implementing Norms, Changing Minds’. Produced as part of the Civil Society Strenghtening Platform to support the establishment and strengthening of regional platforms of civil society organizations, the report offers an overview of the current situation regarding the accessibility of networks in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The study, prepared by the Gender Alliance Development Centre and the Albanian Women Empowerment Network, both WAVE members, shows that networks can be made more accessible to women from minorities and/or disadvantaged groups by either tailoring their access to services according to the needs of these groups or by partnering with organizations that specifically work with them.
The WAVE Working Group on Sexualised Violence (WGSV) recently published an internal report containing baseline information on service provision for women survivors of sexualized violence. Information contained in this report was provided by a small sample of WAVE member organizations who responded to the survey in the last quarter of 2017. The main purpose of the study is to gather data on how the WAVE member organisations define and work with the issue of sexualised violence, what kind of attitudes and priorities they have in their work and what challenges they face. In other words, this study opens up the possibility for conversation in the WAVE Network and showcases the many different ways sexualised violence is understood and addressed within WAVE. This report therefore captures and provides an overview of the different types of service provision which exist around Europe for survivors of sexualised violence, and is not to be understood as a representation of the entire WAVE Network.
The purpose of the Report is to provide information and statistical data on the situation of European women’s specialist support services in four key areas: women´s shelters, national women´s helplines and centres. Thanks to this extensive data collection, it has also been possible to identify current gaps in service provision and compliance with the standards set by the Istanbul Convention. The report also offers individual country profiles for the 46 European countries included in the research sample. As in previous years, data on national women’s helplines, women’s shelters and women’s centres has been collected from all 46 countries that are represented within the WAVE network. This covers the 28 member-states of the EU and 18 countries outside of the EU. The report covers data and figures from the year 2016 and offers recommendations to the aforementioned key areas of service provision. In addition to collecting data on specialist women’s support services, survivor stories provided by women’s organisations from the WAVE network were also included, to highlight individual women’s experiences and provide a practical context to the data.
WAVE composed a position paper on its stance on intersectionality and the importance to integrate an inclusive approach to dealing with gender-based violence. The paper is structured into two sections, and gives both theoretical and practical reasoning on WAVE’s implementation of intersectionality. Intersectionality conceptualizes the idea that social injustice stems from intersecting forms of discrimination. This concept can be applied to the context of gender-based violence, as different women survivors of violence encounter different forms of discrimination. Therefore, it is important to strive to conduct service provision in such manner that all women are included. The legal framework of intersectionality is elaborated in the first section of the paper. WAVE adheres to the principles that are embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Istanbul Convention. In fact, the compliance with intersectionality is rooted in human rights. Concretely, the Istanbul Convention states that for inclusion to ensue, the focus must not only be put on how to refer to the act of violence, but also on how to refer to the survivor of violence. Therefore, it is vital to implement effective tools and employ trained staff to offer inclusive service provision. The second section of the paper demonstrates the practical context of the concept of inclusivity and intersectionality exemplified by five WAVE Members from Austria, Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and the United Kingdom. The work of Member organizations from these five countries that have successfully and effectively implemented an intersectional and inclusive approach to dealing with all women survivors of violence is presented. WAVE’s approach to intersectionality is based on four different grounds. Language, location, social engagement and barrier-free access. Through the provision of multilingual support services, local prevalence of organisations and services in rural areas, programmes and projects conducted through cooperation with other organisations and services, and provision of barrier free and facilitated access, as well as a facilitated use of language, intersectionality can be achieved on a practical ground. The position paper concludes with WAVE’s objective to further develop, integrate and implement strategies and guidelines to ensure inclusivity and intersectionality.
The WAVE thematic paper on preventing and eradicating femicide is meant to provide policy-makers and practitioners with a comprehensive yet concise overview on the topic of femicide. The paper includes a detailed definition of the phenomenon, including a wide range of direct and indirect categories. It makes reference to important global actors tackling this phenomenon and developing a knowledge base, such as the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences (SRVAW). Available statistics on femicide are presented, underscoring the need to collect accurate data that is comparable, gender disaggregated and makes reference to the relationship between victims and perpetrators. Relevant legal instruments, on the regional and global level, addressing this form of violence against women are mentioned as well. Last but not least, WAVE's contribution in tackling this particular form of violence against women, particularly in terms of developing training materials for practitioners and representatives of the criminal justice system and conducting trainings regularly, is also described. In sum, the strategy paper gives policy - makers a roadmap to what efforts ought to be undertaken in order to address and prevent this form of violence, and highlights the contribution made by civil society activists in developing best practices.
The 2017 ‘Thematic Paper on Improving Access to Services for Women with Disabilities’ looks at which challenges women with disabilities face when trying to seek help from gender-based violence. The protection of women with disability from gender-based violence has been one of the main issues addressed by WAVE and its network members over the years, and is a central focus area in the WAVE StepUp! campaign. The need for support services to have trained staff that can address the specific needs of women with disabilities is paramount in all services from police, shelter, to organisations working with people with disabilities, etc., as the barriers to access these services are many and includes everything from lack of access to information in easy-to-read language, braille, sign etc., physical access to support services, trained staff at police, shelters, organisations working with people with disability. In addition, the paper explores not only which barriers they face but also specific measures that can be done in order to improve their access to services.
The WAVE Report 2015 entitled “Report on the Role of Specialist Women’s Support Services in Europe” maps the services available to women survivors of violence in 46 countries, including information on women’s helplines, women’s shelters, women’s centres, women’s journeys to specialist support services as well as providing data on the existence and scope of national women’s networks in Europe. In addition, for the first time, best practice examples of preventative, and training work conducted by women’s NGOs is presented.
Information on Government policy, funding and the recognition of the work of women’s NGOs is given which discusses national action plans and strategies to deal with gender violence. For all services the report makes recommendations for stakeholders and policymakers to improve standards. Furthermore, the report highlights emergency barring orders as a tool to tackle gender-based violence and, for the first time, maps support for women whose partners are in perpetrator programmes. An executive summary of the report which gives the main findings, as well as the introduction and methodology of the report are also available free of charge.
The research also resulted in individual country profiles, which can be accessed under the COUNTRY INFORMATION section of the WAVE website. A compilation of all the indivdual country profiles can be downloaded here.
The 2016 report titled ‘WAVE Mapping - Administrative Data Collection by Women's Support Services in Europe: National Women's Helplines, Women's Shelters, and Women's Centers’ explores the situation of data collection in specialist women’s support services in Europe with the aim to map existing data collection methods and systems in Europe (in the European Union and other European countries). This study resulting in the report is situated within a greater European landscape of focus on improving the availability and quality of administrative data collection, and supports Article 11 of the Istanbul Convention, which mandates state parties to “collect disaggregated relevant statistical data at regular intervals.”
The 2016 thematic paper ‘Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence: Analysis and Key Tenets of International Law and Practice in the Field’ was developed by lawyer Genoveva Tisheva, also working at the WAVE Member organisation in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF). The thematic paper 'explores the notion of access to justice for women victims of violence, as well as barriers to such access, including gender stereotyping and additional vulnerabilities. It also addresses achievements in the access to justice before international human rights bodies. Further, the balance, instead of dichotomy, between ensuring the autonomy of women survivors of violence in initiating procedures for protection of their rights, on the one hand, and the obligation of the state to ensure public prosecution of aggressors in criminal law, on the other hand, is also discussed. The indispensable role of civil society organizations, in particular women’s NGOs, in facilitating access to justice for women victims of violence is one of the core arguments put forward in the present paper.'
The 2016 ‘Thematic Paper on the Right of the Child to Live a Life Free from Violence’ looks at how domestic violence affects children: from direct physical assault to witnessing how their mothers cope with violence. In addition, the paper explores what children learn from living with domestic violence, and the continuing impact of domestic violence on family relations, as well as the right of the child to contact with both parents.
The protection of children from violence in the domestic context has been one of the main issues addressed by WAVE and its network members over the years. The need for support services (including women's refuges/shelters) to have trained staff that can address the specific needs of children is paramount, and it has been promoted alongside the availability of specialized support services for women survivors of violence. The need for special attention for children who live in women's refuges is also addressed in WAVE's 2004 'Away From Violence' manual.
The aim of the 2015 research titled 'Supporting the Sustainability and Autonomy of Women's Organizations Providing Services in Eastern Europe for Women and Children Survivors of Domestic Violence' was to collect evidence to develop a framework that best enables the autonomy and sustainability of specialized women's services, with focus on six Eastern European countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia. The research also provided a platform for understanding the developments in the women's movement, and actions undertaken by women's organizations to establish and strengthen the national framework in the area of preventing and combating violence against women. Women's organizations in the chosen countries continue to face challenges to maintaining autonomy and sustainability; part of the findings indicate that improving and establishing national frameworks to institute cooperation with, and respect for, the work of women's organizations is a complex task that is sometimes a result of arising opportunities or achievements based on lengthy and cumulative efforts and activities. Findings of the research have the potential to serve as guidance for developing or improving existing frameworks that support the work of women's NGOs and their cooperation with the state.
The WAVE Report 2014 titled ‘Specialized Women’s Support Services and New Tools for Combating Gender-based Violence in Europe’ maps the available services for women survivors of violence in 46 European countries, including information on available women’s helplines, women’s shelters, and women’s centers. Additionally, the report takes an in-depth look at funding sources for women’s specialized support services, and provides concrete recommendations for stakeholders and policymakers in improving standards. Furthermore, the report highlights new tools implemented in the fight against gender-based violence in Europe. The particular focus is on the four groundbreaking instruments: the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey on violence against women, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention), the European Union Victim’s Directive, and the European Union Protection Orders (EPO).
The WAVE Country Report 2013 brings the experiences of women survivors of violence together with measuring the available services for women survivors of violence in 46 European countries. The report provides stories from women survivors, who have shared their information about their experiences of violence and seeking help. The mapping of women's services in Europe includes information on available women's helplines, shelters, centres and centres for survivors of sexual violence.
The WAVE Country Report 2012 titled ‘Reality Check on Data Collection and European Services for Women and Children Survivors of Violence: A Right for Protection and Support?’ focuses largely on availability of women's services in Europe for women survivors of violence and their children and on statistics available in the area of domestic violence and/or intimate partner violence in European countries. Another area addressed is the response of the national healthcare system to domestic violence and/or intimate partner violence, in recognition of the fact that a healthcare institution may sometimes be the only place where a woman could have a chance to either disclose violence or be given advice, including referrals, to other services, or where violence may be detected by a medical professional.
The WAVE annual report 2011 provides information on the situation of women’s services in Europe with a special focus on the situation on rape crises and sexual assault centres as well as criminal statistics. The objectives of this report are to raise awareness about sexual violence centers, to demonstrate the gaps in service provision and access to services, and to provide recommendations for the improvement of sexual violence measures. The report focuses on specific support services for women survivors of violence and their children. It does not include general services, such as shelters for homeless people, mother and child homes, or general helplines for survivors of violence. Research and practice of the last thirty years have shown that specific services for women are needed in order to provide adequate support.
The WAVE annual report 2010 provides a comprehensive picture regarding the situation of migrant and minority ethnic women in Europe and their access to various services for women survivors of violence. As in previous report, the 2010 report provides information on the situation of women's services in Europe for women survivors of violence.
The WAVE annual report 2009 presents the collection of data gathered from WAVE members in Europe. The report concerns itself with availability of specialist service provision for women survivors of violence and with the situation of migrant women affected by domestic violence.
The 2009 report titled ‘The Poverty Risks of Women Affected by Violence and their Children’ was a result of a joint project by three European partner organizations: Oxfam GB (UK), Lamoro (Italy) and WAVE (Austria). The general aim of the project was to strengthen a gender mainstreaming and women’s perspective in the discussion of poverty and social inclusion within the European Union as well as on national level in Austria, Italy and the United Kingdom. This report concerns the situation for women survivors of violence in Austria.
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The WAVE Country Report 2008 represents the first attempt to reveal the situation of European services for women survivors of domestic violence and their children, from an NGO perspective. The report offers a reality check on available services for women survivors of violence in Europe, as well as to collect relevant statistics and data concerning the prevalence of violence against women.
The 2002 report titled 'More than a Roof over your Head' is a survey of service provision in 11 European countries, measuring countries' compliance with minimum standards established by a group of experts at the Cologne conference in 1999. The report shows the importance of women's shelters in preventing violence against women.
The 2000 brochure titled ‘Prevention of Domestic Violence against Women’ provides an overview of preventive measures, which have been carried out in Europe to combat male violence against women in intimate relationships. The brochure surveys the status of prevention efforts in the European Union Member States and in the candidate countries and reviews good practice models.