A Fund for Combating Domestic Violence will help the most vulnerable women and children during COVID-19 pandemic
A silent pandemic different from the one caused by the Coronavirus has taken over many homes. It is the pandemic of domestic violence. Since the beginning of the self-isolation, the situation for many families has deteriorated dramatically.
The organizations which run hotlines for survivours of domestic violence report serious increase of the signals. The cases for which help is being sought are more severe than before. In just a month, signals for domestic violence to the National Children’s Hotline have jumped with 370 in number. Eight women lost their lives killed by their partners since the beginning of the emergency situation.
Bulgarian Fund for Women in partnership with BCause Foundation and Bulgarian Donor’s Forum initiate an Emergency Fund for Combating Domestic Violence in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fund will help survivours of domestic violence and their children by supporting organizations that work at the forefront and provide legal, psychological and social services to victims, run crisis shelters, consultative centers and mobile services in the whole country. Among the first organizations that expressed a need for support are these in Varna, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Dimitrovgrad, Dupnitsa, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia, Targovishte and Haskovo. All they have long-term experience as licensed service providers for women and children survivours, have successfully realized projects and took part in а needs assessment survey related to their situation in the context of the crisis caused by the pandemic.
The survey made by the Bulgarian Fund for Women among these organizations showed that the services continue to function but face big and entirely new obstacles. Cases of domestic violence increase, there is no capacity in the crisis shelters to accommodate women and children. There is a need for setting up new spaces for quarantine of the newcomers, additional working hours for psychologists and jurists. Also, there is a need for rapid diagnostic tests, disinfectants and protection tools against spread of the disease.
The organizations also report that a big number of the victims who seek help face great hardships and inability to buy for themselves and their children the food, medicine and protection tools. They need urgent humanitarian help to survive the first months of the crisis and after the emergency situation.
Three companies and a foundation joined in with funding and supported the initiative in help of domestic violence victims. These are Bеiersdorf / NIVEA, EasyPay, Experian Bulgaria and Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation.
The cause is reaching out to individual donors as well. Everyone who wishes to support the Urgent Fund for Combating Domestic Violence can do it by:
- Donating for the Campaign in Platformata.bg;
- Sending a donation SMS with a text DMS SILA to a short number 17 777 for all mobile operators;
- Donating via bank transfer on the website of the Bulgarian Fund for Women;
- Donating cash via EasyPay offices throughout the country to KIN 4236895688.
The Bulgarian Fund for Women will double all individual donations made via Platformata.bg. The funds raised will be gradually distributed to the organizations in need. The distribution process will be decided by an Expert Council consisting of the three organizations, initiators of the Fund and corporate donors.
The funds raised will support the following urgent needs:
- Testing of newcomers to the COVID-19 Crisis Centers; delimitation of premises for temporary quarantine before admission; protective clothing, personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, helmets) and disinfectants; medicines, vitamins, essential medical supplies;
- Additional hours of work of psychologists and lawyers in the centers, due to the increase in the required help and the more severe cases that require immediate protection;
- Temporary accommodation in a hotel in the absence of vacancies in the Crisis Centers;
- Increase mobile services to reach small settlements;
- Providing basic technical means for online consultations;
- Tablets and laptops for children placed with their mothers in the services so that they can continue to study remotely;
- Emergency humanitarian aid for women and their children, in cases where they have no income, do not receive maintenance and have serious financial difficulties (food packages, medicines, hygiene materials);
- Extra beds, installation of partitions and emergency equipment of premises; educational materials and games for the children of the women accommodated in the centers, who now do not have the opportunity to play much outside.
Media partners of the initiative are Darik Radio, Zhenata Dnes Magazine, Maiko Mila and Momichetata ot Grada.
Let’s lend a hand to the most vulnerable women and children! Let’s give them hope and safe shelter now!