BFW successfully completed a project for prevention of domestic violence, including information campaign and support services
Domestic violence is a widespread problem in Bulgaria, affecting mainly women and children. It has many forms and manifestations, but what they have in common is the relationship based on power and control. Survivors of domestic violence often face difficulty in defending themselves, because of the lack of professional help and support, social apathy, and silence about the extent of the problem. Effective prevention and work in cases of domestic violence requires an adequate response from the institutions and active participation of the civil sector.
To achieve these goals, the Bulgarian Fund for Women launched in June 2020 the project “National Information Campaign for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Support Services”, funded by the Ministry of Justice. It was implemented in the period from June to the end of October 2020.
The main project activities include:
National information campaign for prevention of domestic violence, which was implemented in the social media. Through this campaign, BFW builds on its long-term efforts to eliminate gender stereotypes and raise the awareness on domestic violence prevention by engaging its followers on the social networks. A special focus of the national information campaign was the promotion of specialized online meetings and individual consultations, which were provided by the Bulgarian Fund for Women within the project.
Individual online consultations for victims of domestic violence and perpetrators of domestic violence. This activity provided an opportunity for free of charge individual online consultations with psychologist and lawyer for victims of domestic violence and / or perpetrators of domestic violence. Within the program 40 individual consultations were held. The support sessions were conducted entirely online in complete confidentiality, with the aim of reaching out to persons who could not decide to consult face-to-face with specialists, lived in small or remote towns or villages where there was no institutional support and / or no access to specialists and experts.
The program included three components: 1) Psychological (psycho-social) individual counseling; 2) Legal individual consulting; 3) Specialized consultations for adults, perpetrators of domestic violence, who have problem with control of aggression.
Specialized online meetings (webinars) targeted to victims of domestic violence. BFW organized 4 meetings in the period July – October 2020, aimed at people in a situation of violence. They were widely popularized on social media and were easily accessible to the general public. The webinars were led by BFW representatives and had guest experts (psychologists and lawyers) with many years of experience in working on cases of domestic violence.
Here are links to the four online sessions:
Webinar 1 – “Criminal proceedings for domestic violence – legal and psychological aspects“, held on July 30, 2020 with the participation of the experts: the lawyer Natasha Dobreva and the clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Katya Krastanova.
Webinar 2 – “Communication in case of domestic violence”, held on August 31, 2020 with the participation of Joana Terzieva – psychotherapy consultant and the lawyer Dilyana Giteva.
Webinar 3 – “How difficult is it to leave a toxic relationship?”, held on September 11, 2020 with the participation of Valentina Dimitrova – psychotherapist and family counselor and the lawyer Emil Stankov.
Webinar 4 – “Children and Domestic Violence”, held on October 1, 2020 with the participation of the lawyer Natasha Dobreva and the clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Katya Krastanova.
The various aspects of the problem of domestic violence were presented during the four online sessions in an accessible way. Among them were types and psychological aspects of domestic violence and other valuable information with regards to the problem and its issues. The guest experts also gave practical guidance to the participants during the webinars and answered their questions.
In October, the BFW issued and distributed an informational leaflet “You are stronger than domestic violence” (in Bulgarian). It was made in an accessible and empowering way so that victims easily recognize the early signs of domestic violence in a relationship. It also included main steps that the victims must take to protect themselves. The front page of the leaflet presents the hotlines for support of victims of domestic violence, managed by the Animus Association Foundation and the Alliance for Protection against Gender-Based Violence, as well as the National Line for Children. The websites loveerrors.bg and bgfundforwomen.org have announced, where all resources developed under the project can be found. The leaflets were distributed to over 30 organizations in different cities – Crisis and Consultation centers for victims of domestic violence, community support centers and others. They, in their turn, will distribute the leaflets to the local police departments, courts, hospitals and clinics, other social services, therapists’ offices and others.
The results of the project are:
- Increased awareness, sensitivity and civic participation on the issue of “domestic violence”, “violence against women”, “gender equality”, thanks to the massive information campaign on social media of BFW. In addition, the distribution of the information brochure helped to increase the awareness and readiness to seek and find support. This has become particularly important in the context of the increased levels of violence due to the isolation and the state of emergency since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Facilitated access of victims to specialized services for survivors of domestic violence;
- Effective psycho-social and legal support for 40 survivors of domestic violence through individual online consultations;
- Access to support and individual counseling from experienced experts during the four online events (webinars), where in a secure and anonymous environment, participants received help.
- Development of a model for prevention of domestic violence, through campaigns and information publications on social networks and online media.
“National Information Campaign for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Support Services”
The project is implemented under a grant agreement with reg. № 93-00-162 / 08.06.2020, funded by the Ministry of Justice.