Background of the project
Girl minors in residential care under the legal responsibility of public authorities are an extremely vulnerable group, where multiple risk factors of violence (gender, age, parental neglect and reclusion) intersect. Research shows that high numbers have experienced violence and abuse and traditional gender roles are pervasive, which may lead to further violence against women at a critical stage of sexual and affective development.
Aims of the project
Empowering Care has a two-fold main objective:
to increase knowledge on the prevalence and characteristics of experiences of violence and abuse against girls aged 14-18 in residential care and under the legal responsibility of public authorities in the EU;
to empower girl-child to protect and prevent themselves and their peers from violence against women.
The specific objectives are:
1. Acquiring knowledge about the prevalence and characteristics of experiences of different types of violence and abuse against adolescent girls in residential care in Catalonia, Italy, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Finland, both before and after entering care institutions, as well as their beliefs regarding gender roles and stereotypes, and sexual and affective relationships.
2. Investing the knowledge created through research in developing and implementing empowerment programmes for institutionalised young women in the 5 countries, allowing girls under the legal responsibility of public authorities to protect and prevent themselves and their peers from different kinds of violence against women and specially intimate partner violence.
3. Sensitising professionals working with girls in residential care about the need to work with this target group from a gender-based approach and provide them with tools for empowering girls, foster gender equity as a value at a critical stage in their personality development, and promote equitable sexual and affective relationships.
4. Raising awareness among decision-makers, civil servants and relevant stakeholders in the EU about the need to include gender violence prevention and protection and empowerment programmes in the service provision to institutionalised young women under the legal responsibility of public authorities.
The main activities of the 2-year project are:
1) Qualitative research on the experiences of violence and abuse, perceptions of gender roles and intimate relationships of 14-18 girls in residential care in Catalonia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy and Finland.
2) Elaboration and pilot test with 15 girls in each country of an empowerment programme to enable girls in residential care to engage in affective relationships based on gender equality.
3) Development of a set of policy recommendations
4) Elaboration of a handbook for professionals with guidelines for the empowerment of girls in residential care and a Finnish online course module on the issue.
5) Training, dissemination and sensitisation activities targeting professionals, policy-makers and researchers around Europe.