WE GO! (Women Economic-independence & Growth Opportunity) was a two-year -long project co-financed by the European Union focusing on women undergoing intimate partner violence. The project involved 15 partners based in 7 different European countries (Italy, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, United Kingdom, and Sweden).
- ActionAid Italy
- Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies
- Euclid Network
- Fundación Mujeres
- Gender Project for Bulgaria Foundation
- The Bulgarian Centre of Women in Technology (BCWT)
- Animus Association Foundation
- Women's Centre of Karditsa
- Centro Veneto Progetti Donna- Auser
- ASSOCIATION “DONATELLA TELLINI” – L’AQUILA, ITALY
- C.I.F. (Italian Women's Centre)
The project worked to strengthen support services for women undergoing intimate partner violence (IPV) and in particular the activities run by anti-violence centres (AVCs) aiming at empowering women.
The project involved 78 professionals and practitioners in comparative analysis and exchange activities, highlighting how the exchange of experiences among practitioners should be encouraged and promoted in order to reinforce the quality of the services provided.
Core activity of the project was the Training for Women supported by AVCs involved in the project for promoting their personal and economic empowerment and fostering their capacities and possibilities to attain economic independence. Mentorship activities were also carried out to provide guidance to women to build future projects and economic opportunities.
The training toolkit, targeting practitioners and AVCs to enhance their capacity to respond to survivors’ needs, has and will be widely disseminated to anti-violence centres across the EU, with the aim of promoting knowledge and spreading effective practices on the issue of women’s economic empowerment.
On the basis of the WE GO! project’s results and learnings, we address the following recommendations aiming at strengthening the response to the economic needs of women survivors of IPV in the EU:
To the European Union:
» Ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The signature of the Convention was a positive step that needs to be followed-up by a rapid process leading to its ratification.
» Establishing an EU coordination office against violence against women, responsible for improving coordination and coherence among EU institutions, EU agencies and Member States and for developing EU policies to address genderbased violence.
» Promoting data collection on the socioeconomic profile of women undergoing violence, including IPV, in order to develop knowledge on specific aspects of violence against women.
» Providing, in collaboration with the Council of Europe and with the involvement of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), an agreed definition of economic empowerment support services, ensuring the inclusion of this services in minimum standards of service provision for survivors of gender-based violence, including IPV. Consultation with antiviolence centres and relevant civil society organisations should be ensured in this process.
» Ensure that European programmes and structural and investment funds value the implementation of tertiary prevention interventions on the same ground as primary and secondary prevention, in order to develop knowledge and promising practices on the three types of violence prevention. Adequate EU funding for transnational projects combating violence against women should be secured in the framework of the current debate on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework.
To National governments:
» Ensuring periodic surveys to estimate the magnitude of all forms of violence against women and including in national statistics data collection and analysis on the socio-economic profile of women undergoing gender-based violence, including IPV.
» Providing anti-violence centres with adequate funding in order to ensure that they can implement sustainable programmes and provide adequate services. Funding should allow AVCs to plan activities at least on a three-year basis.
» Ensuring that IPV survivors have access to both shelters and long-term temporary safe housing solutions and provide AVCs with adequate funding to offer such services. This will ensure survivors can count on safe housing and on adequate time to build their independence.
» Ensuring that at the local level children of IPV survivors can access quality and affordable childcare services so that their mothers can engage in their personal and professional development by providing AVCs with adequate funding for developing these services.
» Including in action plans and policies to fight violence against women measures for promoting the building of networks at the local level aiming at strengthening anti- violence centres’ abilities to respond to women’ economic needs. AVCs should be at the centres of such networks to ensure a gender-sensitive and woman-centred approach to the problem.
» Introducing temporary income support measures to ensure women survivors of IPV can count on a minimum wage for at least 2 years when they decide to come out of violent relationships.
» Integrating in programmes for social and economic inclusion, including those supported by the European Social Fund, a dedicated intervention stream to support IPV survivors in accessing training and job opportunities in order to build their economic independence.
To Regional and Local institutions
» Implementing positive discrimination measures to ensure IPV survivors are given priority in professional education programmes and job placements, by ensuring public employment offices and professional training institutes have specific programmes and places reserved for IPV survivors.
» Ensuring that strategies to prevent and combat IPV include interventions to strengthen regional and local networks aimed at reinforcing antiviolence centres’ response to survivors’ needs, including their economic ones. Within these interventions, training on gender-sensitive and woman-centred approaches should be foreseen for all actors involved.
» Introducing measures aiming at ensuring that women IPV survivors can access shelters as well as long-term temporary housing to provide them with adequate time to build their economic independence. Public housing could be used to respond to the long-term housing needs of women.
» Ensuring that children of IPV survivors can access quality childcare services so that their mothers can engage in income generating activities and have time to dedicate to their personal and professional development. These services should be provided for free or at affordable prices.
» Including in programmes for social and economic inclusion a dedicated intervention stream to support IPV survivors in accessing training and job opportunities in order to build their economic independence.
To companies, foundations and other public and private sector actors:
» Introducing and implementing policies to prevent and combat violence against women in the workplace and to ensure that both women and men workers have the same opportunities and rights.
» Introducing and implementing programmes in partnership with anti-violence centres to provide women survivors of IPV with opportunities to access professional trainings and job placements that can contribute to building their economic independence.