Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread problem in the European Union: according to the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) almost 22% of women experience physical and/or sexual violence in a relationship with a man. [European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Violence against women: an EU-wide survey, 2014]
Women’s rights NGOs including anti-violence centres (AVCs) and shelters are at the front line of supporting women to overcome violence and move on with their lives. 17 AVCs from 6 European countries took part in the EU-funded WeGO! project and piloted new tools focused on the economic empowerment of women who have been victims of IPV.
AVCs – many of which are NGOs – are key actors in the provision of support services to IPV survivors and are at the forefront of knowledge development in this field. AVCs have different levels of expertise and knowledge and benefit from EU support for projects like WeGO!
“I think that the training and the toolkit will permit us to increase our expertise in supporting women’s survivors of IPV to find their economic independence and and above all their economic empowerment.” [AVC operator from Centro Veneto Progetti Donna, Padova, Italy]
The WeGO! project is calling on the European Union to take the following actions to further support women’s rights NGOs:
- Provide an agreed definition of economic empowerment support services, ensuring the inclusion of this services in minimum standards of provision of services for survivors of gender-based violence, including IPV. Consultation with anti-violence 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 (i.e. post-violence support) on the same ground as primary and secondary prevention
- Assure 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.
WeGO! also makes additional policy recommendations on data collection, childcare, secure housing, network-building and temporary income support in its brochure: “Women’s economic independence: a way out of violence”. Finally, WeGO! calls on the EU to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women.