Joint Efforts in Applying a Multi-level Approach to Combating Domestic Violence

OakThe overall project goal is to ensure sustainability in combating domestic violence in Bulgaria. Specific project objectives are:

1. Ensuring the legal framework for the implementation of social services for women victims of domestic violence:  A lot of active work for raising the capacity of relevant local structures is necessary to implement the already developed coordination mechanism and minimum standards so that they do not remain on paper.

2. Engaging local authorities on the topic of domestic violence and increasing the capacity of local key stake holders to combat domestic violence in compliance with the coordination mechanism and the minimum standards: One of the most important lessons learnt from AFF’s previous project, funded by the OAK Foundation, is that it is most difficult to work with some individual attitudes to domestic violence of people in power. This makes it clear that even if the coordination mechanism and the standards are officially adopted by the key institutions, no meaningful change is possible without the serious involvement of local communities. Following the OAK Foundation’s principle for co-financing, AAF ensures the engagement of local communities in combating domestic violence – they will provide halls, logistics, participation at the local level, etc.

3. Creating a sustainable model for a specialized comprehensive service, supporting people in situation of domestic violence: The existence of such a center will allow the service users to request help and participate in the further development of services targeted at them which contributes to the victims’ empowerment. The center will also collect feedback from the clients about the services offered in order to improve them.

The target groups of the project are women, adolescents and children victims of domestic violence, local authorities and key stake holders, decision makers on the topic of domestic violence.

The proposed project plans the following activities: lobbying campaign; lobbying in partnership with the Alliance for Protection against Domestic Violence and Gender Alternatives Foundation for signing and ratifying the Council of Europe Convention; participating in drafting a law for social services; synchronizing the coordination mechanism with the Council of Europe Convention for Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence; institutionalizing the minimum standards for social services, conducting active media campaign on the issue of domestic violence; work in the community campaign; researching key partners in regions where therе are no active NGOs in the field of domestic violence; increasing the capacity of key local stakeholders to participate in multidisciplinary teams and work on domestic violence cases, in compliance with the coordination mechanism; increasing the capacity of service providers and NGOs to work on domestic violence cases in compliance with the minimum standards; piloting the service “Comprehensive Center for Support of Victims of Domestic Violence”; creating a mechanism for interaction between the piloted center and the 24/7 emergency services for victims of domestic violence.

The project will ensure sustainability in the implementation of services in cases of domestic violence against women. In addition, the project will implement the Coordination Mechanism for assistance and support of victims of domestic violence. The Coordination Mechanism was ratified at the institutional level; however, in order to achieve its practical implementation, training for all local structures is required. The experience of partner organizations in the country shows that joint horizontal trainings with different institutions are needed in order to attain the actual implementation of the Coordination Mechanism. Thus, the current project will provide the opportunity for the mechanism to be applied in practice rather than to remain only on paper.