COVID19 Emergency Domestic Violence Fund: The effect in numbers
At the start of the pandemic last year, an unprecedented rise in domestic violence was reported worldwide. This pandemic within the COVID19 pandemic did not pass Bulgaria either. This prompted us to turn to organizations that work on the front lines with women and children, victims of domestic violence. What we learned from them was that they continue to work in extremely harsh conditions, cases and their severity have increased. The widespread of COVID19 and the following isolation measures were creating entirely new challenges.
That is why in May 2020 the Bulgarian Fund for Women initiated an Emergency Fund for Combating Domestic Violence in the Context of COVID-19, which aims to help the victims of domestic violence and provide support through the professional organizations working on the front line in different cities in the country. In partnership with the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum and the BCause Foundation, we initiated an urgent fundraising campaign aimed at corporate and individual donors. In a little over a month, we managed to raise BGN 73 192.
Thanks to the corporate donors – the companies Biersdorf/NIVEA, Easy Pay, Experian Bulgaria, Melon, Progress and the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, BGN 41,296 were raised. Hundreds of individual donors also took part. They supported the campaign by donating to the Platform.bg, on the BFW website, via text message to the short number 17 777 with the text DMS SILA and at the cash desks of EasyPay throughout the country. BFW matched the amount collected from individual donations in Platform.bg (BGN 13,062) arriving at BGN 26,124.
The funds were distributed between 14 organizations across the country. They all manage Crisis and Counselling Centers and work with victims of domestic violence and their children, providing them with psychological, legal and emotional support. The collected donations were invested both in individual consultations and therapy for overcoming the injuries, as well as in legal fees; fees for medical services; purchase of disinfectants and personal protective equipment for the Crisis Centers; covering PCR tests for newcomers; digital devices through which the activity was transformed from live meetings to online consultations; repair activities, which increased the security in the centers, etc.
Hundreds of humanitarian packages containing food, medicine and necessities were distributed to the affected women and children. With the help of BCause and Philip Morris Bulgaria, food vouchers were provided to help women and children in dire situation across the country.
The aid reached directly and helped 499 people (140 children under 18, 76 young people and 283 women). Of these, 201 survived domestic violence; there are 80 women from remote and rural areas; those on the threshold of poverty and social exclusion – 193; women victims of trafficking – 4; refugees/migrants – 75; women from ethnic minorities – 148 and people with mental and physical disabilities – 15.
Our campaign was widely covered in the media and provoked over 90 publications, television and radio interviews. Media partners of the initiative were Darik Radio, Zhenata Dnes Magazine, Maiko Mila and Momichetata ot Grada. On social media, the campaign reached thousands of people and provoked hundreds of reactions and shares.
What did our partners comment on the effect of the communication campaign?
We believe that thanks to the BFW’s Emergency Fund for Combating Domestic Violence campaign in the media and social networks more women dared to seek help. The more the problem is made public, the more victims will gather the strength and courage to reveal themselves and seek support. – feedback from DA Foundation – Plovdiv
In the Blog of our website you can read a series of stories how the donations from the Emergency Fund helped women and children victims of violence in various cities. See their personal stories and the shared first-hand experiences of the experts who supported them on their difficult journey. You can read on our website about the effect of the donated funds in the services of the following cities:
- Haskovo, Dimitrovgrad and Svilengrad (in Bulgarian)
- Gorna Oryahovitsa (in Bulgarian)
- Dupnitsa and Kocherinovo (in Bulgarian)
- Sofia (in Bulgarian)
Thank you to all donors and partners! With your help, we gave hundreds of women a chance to open a new page.