International Day for the elimination of violence against women: according to the WE GO! Project, it’s necessary to invest in women’s economic empowerment

Public conference – Brussels 30 November 2017
from 9:00 until 11:00
Room ASP 3G2 – European Parliament
Altiero Spinelli Building

To become independent from a violent partner, being well educated or employed is not enough: according to the report “A way out of violence” it is important to invest in women’s economic empowerment in order to help women leave a violent relationship. This report in one of the results of the European project WE GO! (Women Economic-independence & Growth Opportunity) and will be presented at the European Parliament in Brussels, on 30 November during the project’s final conference.

WE GO! (Women Economic-independence & Growth Opportunity) is a two-year project co-financed by the European Union focusing on this specific issue affecting women undergoing intimate partner violence (IPV): the lack of economic independenc to be able to leave a violent partner and ensure sustainable alternatives for themselves and (if they have) their children.

WeGO! works with organisations in 4 European countries to understand the economic needs of female survivors of intimate partner violence.

The report contains the results of data collection involving the 12 antiviolence centres (AVCs) partners in the project and centres who contributed to the project implementation. The centres are based in four EU countries: 1 in Bulgaria, 6 in Greece, 3 in Italy and 2 in Spain. The purpose of the data collection was to contribute to knowledge-building on the specific issue of the economic needs of women survivors of IPV, focusing specifically on their socio-economic characteristics. A total of 552 profiles of women assisted by AVCs centres were included in the project database.

What have we learned from this survey? The majority of the women (60%) assisted by AVCs are between 30 and 49 years old. Their experience undergoing violence is long: 23.7% of the women have experienced violence for a period of between 5 to 10 years and even more, 26.5%, for over 10 years. The majority of these women are well educated: 38.8% of the women have an upper secondary education and 22.7% completed tertiary education. In most of the cases, the perpetrator of violence is the husband/partner (41.7%) or the ex-husband/ex-partner (48.7%). The report demonstrates that a large proportion of female victims of IPV has a low level of economic independence (82.5%). Only 40% are employed, less than 15% owns the house they live in, whereas the majority (nearly 75%) has dependent children, often under 13 years old. More than half of the women (53%) were subjected to one or more forms of economic abuse by a partner/husband or former partner/husband. Economic abuse includes having no access to household income, not being able to freely spend own money, and monitoring of expenses.

“Organisations and Anti-Violence Centres request support for women who suffered violence to access employment”

Antiviolence Centres and other organisations involved in the WE GO! project request national and European institutions to support Antiviolence Centres in their activities aimed at providing an adequate response to women who decide to say “no!” to violence; it is necessary to include data collection and analysis of the socio-economic profile of women undergoing gender-based violence (including IPV) in national statistics on violence against women. Organisations and AVCs ask the Institutions to support women who suffered violence to access employment through providing professional and education programmes and job placement activities. Moreover, policies should include both shelters and long-term temporary safe housing solutions among the services that need to be provided and ensure that children of survivors of IPV can access quality childcare services, so their mothers can engage in income generating activities and have time to dedicate to their personal and professional development.

The WE GO! Project:  http://www.wegoproject.eu/

Contact Marta Bruschi to find out more.

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