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The work on countering domestic violence is discussed in Dnipro

12 September 2019

On September 6, with the support of the UNFPA in Ukraine, a regional conference was held in the city of Dnipro for experts in preventing and combating domestic and gender-based violence.

Representatives of ministries, renowned Ukrainian scientists, public organizations involved in solving the problems of women and children victims of violence, together with the coordinators of the state policy of the ATCs and the districts of Dnipropetrovsk oblast, took part in the event.

In recent years, Ukraine has adopted a powerful package of documents that regulate the protection of victims of violence and the prosecution of perpetrators. Moreover, the legal framework continues to change, effective mechanisms for detecting domestic violence and providing quality specialized services are being put in place.

That is why, according to Iryna Hrytsay, Deputy Head of the Dnipropetrovsk State Administration, specialist training is being deployed to implement the new legal provisions governing the state policy of protecting victims of violence. Thus, during 2020, the regional coordinator of interaction of Dnipropetrovsk oblast stakeholders will conduct training of specialists of each individual state institution and interdisciplinary teams.

In particular, the conference yielded the following results: first, the development of a topical plan for the training of specialists of individual state institutions on methods of detecting violence and effective referral of victims; second, the development of a calendar plan for the training of specialists from all territories of Dnipropetrovsk oblast; and third, the training plans include mandatory training of specialists in the principles of interdisciplinary interaction and training for representatives of all local stakeholders.

During the conference, Svitlana Holovatyuk, Head of the Family Department of the Kryvyi Rih City Council, presented a successful model of interaction of stakeholders working in prevention and combating domestic violence in the city of Kryvyi Rih. It was stated that the provision of quality services to the victims is the crucial purpose of the specialized services of the city, namely, the mobile team for providing social and psychological assistance and the Crisis Center for Women "With Hope for the Future". In addition, the coordinated work of law enforcement, social, health care and legal aid professionals is a key to the practical realization of the rights of victims of gender-based violence.

In June 2018, the specialized shelter for women and children affected by domestic violence was opened in the Kryvyi Rih community. Today it is the largest facility of this kind in Ukraine - it can simultaneously provide services and offer security for 30 women with children. During its operation, the facility received 961 victims, about half of whom were children. However, the city is pursuing progress in this area and plans to further develop a system of services for victims of violence. In particular, the opening of the Day Care Center for Women, as well as the provision of specialized services to victims residing in towns and cities close to Kryvyi Rih who need social and psychological rehabilitation and a safe environment are expected.

According to the Main Directorate of the National Police in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, since 8 months of 2019, 6,753 domestic violence cases have been detected in the territory of the region, on which administrative reports have been drawn up; for 44 incidents, the criminal proceedings were initiated under Art. 126-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, for 15 of them the pre-trial investigation was completed. Moreover, police issued 1,229 urgent restraining orders.

According to Olena Masalitina, an adviser to the Minister of Education and Science, the comprehensive prevention of gender-based violence is a new major challenge for the education system. Every education professional, from the school psychologist to the textbook reviewer, plays an important role in this process.

According to the expert opinion of a scientist, PhD of Law, Larysa Nalyvaiko, sensitivity to the problem of domestic violence of the community on the one hand, and the creation of sustainable interdisciplinary systems for combating domestic violence at the local and regional levels, on the other, have undoubtedly changed the Ukrainian society and become a safeguards of fundamental human rights and freedoms in our country.

The UNFPA Regional Specialist in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast has provided recommendations to develop a specialized services system to assist victims of violence. Thus, the Kamyanske authorities plan to open a shelter for women in the city and to finance the activities of the social and psychological assistance team in 2020. At the same time, such big cities of the region as Kryvyi Rih, Nikopol, Pavlohrad and Dnipro are ready to consider proposals for budget financing of mobile teams on the territory of cities.

The mechanism of providing paid services to victims from the territories of ATCs and districts by the Kryvyi Rih Crisis Center for Women was announced and discussed in detail during the conference. The implementation of such contractual relationships will provide access to specialized social and psychological services and stay in a safe place even for women from remote villages and settlements of the region.

The event was part of the UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund's Comprehensive Approach to Violence Against Women and Girls in Ukraine Program, which is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine with the support of the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada and Estonia.