Crisis Unit

Co-ordinator: Ani Torozova An immediate response to the experience of violence is shock. The woman feels confused and helpless. She is overwhelmed by strong feelings. She is confused by her emotions; feelings of shame and guilt prevent her from seeking help from her closest friends and relatives. The crisis changes her life. It disrupts her emotional balance and destroys the natural coping mechanisms. These women lose their strength and their sense of reality. At this moment it is essential that someone take care of the victim: allow her to vent her emotions, believe her, soothe her pain, accept her suffering, and offer specific help. The purpose of the Crisis Unit is to offer immediate and urgent psychological support to women experiencing acute emotional stress after violence. It gives these women the opportunity to cope with their intense emotions in an environment of trust, understanding, and professional partnership, so that they can return to their usual way of life. Every woman considered to be in a crisis situation, is referred directly to the Crisis Unit team at any time of day, without needing an appointment. Contact with the Crisis Unit is usually established through the Help-line. Working with women who are in a crisis situation as a result of violence has several components: Urgent emotional support. This includes 3 – 7 meetings aimed at helping the woman master the strong emotions induced by the recent incident of violence, by sharing her story in a safe, non-accusatory, and supportive environment. The client, together with the consultant, explores the possibilities for coping with the situation and plans practical steps to help her regain autonomy. Social and humanitarian aid. This is thorough assistance in dealing with other organisations to meet the most urgent social needs of the woman – helping her get in touch with physicians, lawyers, police officers, employers, etc. In the most difficult cases humanitarian aid is also offered. Crisis Accommodation. Assistance for women and their children who are without shelter after a violent incident. The Crisis unit offers accommodation for up to 4 days, until the women can find alternative long-term shelter – relatives, rented apartment, etc.