Collection of methods, tools and good practices in the field of domestic violence (as described by area D of Beijing Platform for Action)

The study developed a collection of resources, methods and tools on prevention of and protection from violence against women to enhance the effectiveness of gender equality policies at the EU and Member State levels. During the study, a methodological approach was developed and tested to assess good practices on prevention and protection. This methodological approach is generally suitable for evaluating any program on improving gender equality. The nine common criteria, however, were developed specifically to identify good practice regarding domestic violence. Special methodological tools were developed to consider the specific elements of awareness-raising campaigns, trainings, victims’ support services, and perpetrators’ programs.

Main findings

  • During the study, the tools and methods of 136 training programmes addressing domestic violence across the 28 Member States were examined. 87 % of Member States provide training delivered by government institutions and 83 % of Member States provide training delivered by civil society organisations. This means that in most countries both training types are available. Police forces and the judiciary are the most represented target groups of training programs. Primary prevention seems to receive less attention, and many of these interventions are localised and not mainstreamed into school curricula or youth work.
  • A total of 254 examples of implemented victims’ support services tools and methods were collected across the EU Member States. The majority of support services include counselling, mentoring or coaching programmes, legal aid provision, safety measures, and methods supporting the victims re-entering the labour market.
  • The tools and methods of 291 awareness-raising materials in addressing domestic violence were collected. Awareness-raising campaigns aimed at prevention of domestic violence usually have three main aims: firstly, to signal that violence against women is not acceptable; secondly, to increase awareness on the dimension and costs of violence; and thirdly, to provide information on the services available. 

Gaps in data collection

  • As the aims of the study were collecting methods, tools and good practices in the field of gender-based violence and developing the methodology for assessment of these materials, no data collection gaps were identified in the project.

Study in detail

This study was conducted in 2012. The definition of domestic violence used for this study is the definition from the Istanbul Convention (2011): “all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family or domestic unit or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim”.

The study developed a collection of resources on domestic violence, methods and tools on prevention and protection from domestic violence, good practices on prevention and protection from domestic violence and methodological approach to identify and assess good practices on prevention and protection from domestic violence. The study focused on three different areas, mapping methods and tools and identifying good practices in:

Gender Training

Training as an enabling policy tool relies on the change of people’s self-perceptions, way of relating to others, beliefs, problem-setting and problem-solving, competences, and knowledge. On the other hand, this tool is highly contextual so that its goals vary according to the target group, type of organization by which it is organized or policy sector where it is applied. According to these goals, several types of gender training have been identified:

basic awareness training (includes introduction on gender and power relations, intersection with other inequalities; deals with participants’ values, representations)
gender+ analysis training (the goal is to think about participants’ own organizations and how awareness could be applied to initiate change)
gender equality strategy training (helps institutions develop their own strategic plans, identify priority issues, etc.)

Most of the existing research and documentation covers the fields of gender training in development cooperation, and usually its definition is broad referring to awareness-raising activities organized by international cooperation agencies for the general public, mainly targeted at women from civil society and/or women’s NGOs, usually from developing countries. In Europe, most initiatives to assess gender training have focused on this topic as an integral part of gender mainstreaming.

Training in domestic violence is still an underused tool for prevention. Training in the area of gender-based violence is often preceded by a gender training, in order to provide the tools to understand the causes of violence against women. Therefore, the training is unlikely to work if the participants do not question their assumptions about violence. Additionally, there is a series of ethical questions concerning training in the area of gender-based violence.

The Council of Europe defines training programs as the tools aimed at transmitting information and transferring knowledge in order to detect gender related issues and develop policies that take gender into account. In the policy area, it distinguishes between gender training planned, organized or/and commissioned by public institutions (1); targeted at public personnel (2), and aimed at facilitating the incorporation of a gender equality perspective in all policies and at all levels and at all stages of the policy-making process (3).

Awareness-raising campaigns/events

Awareness-raising is a central tool for prevention and can include working with the general public to change attitudes and the degree of tolerance, expose the magnitude of the issue, and end the secrecy around it. This tool can also target specific groups with narrow messages. Public awareness campaigns may be developed at the international, national, regional or local level. Awareness-raising initiatives usually challenge values and norms that perpetuate stereotypes and support inequality by explaining how they influence and limit the options during decision-making process.

Awareness-raising campaigns aimed at prevention of domestic violence usually have three main aims: firstly, to signal that violence against women is not tolerable; secondly, to increase awareness on the dimension and costs of violence; thirdly to provide information on the services available. Accordingly, such campaigns may be an important tool to inform complainants or survivors of domestic violence about their rights, existing laws and available remedies.

In the majority of Member States awareness-raising campaigns related to domestic violence have been launched. However, primary prevention seems to receive less attention and many of these interventions are localised or not mainstreamed into school curricula or youth work. Still there are several Member States which also include programs and activities to educate school children and teachers, apart from the usual media campaigns, posters, etc. Working with men is another important dimension in awareness-raising campaigns. Strategies to involve men may include work to raise awareness of the issue with the organized groups (military, trade unions, sports, the police) or campaign that use positive male role models to oppose violence against women. Several initiatives, such as the White Ribbon campaign have been launched in many Member States.

Support services

Women’s support services cover all services supporting women survivors of violence, such as women’s shelters, helplines, centres, rape and sexual assault centres, special services for migrant and ethnic minority women, national women’s helplines, outreach services, independent domestic violence advisors, intervention centres and others.

Each support service has an important role in combating violence. For example, helplines are proven helpful because women stay anonymous and still get advice and information. Most importantly, this service qualifies as a woman’s helpline if it is a service specifically for women and it predominantly serves women survivors of violence. Furthermore, women’s shelter defines a specialized service for women, which provides immediate and safe accommodation to women survivors of violence and their children, where they can live without fear of being abused. On the other hand, women’s centre provides non-residential support of any kind (information, advice, counselling, practical support, court accompaniment, legal information, etc.) to women survivors of violence and their children.

While the majority of Member States have a national violence against women helpline and provide some form of shelter services, many face capacity problems and sustainable funding issues, especially in the case of new Member States, which rely on international donors.

Databases

Good practices on prevention and protection from domestic violence

Methods and tools on prevention and protection from domestic violence

Literature and legislation on domestic violence