Housing program and helpline (including counselling centre)
This organisation is running shelter and counselling centre (it is operating dominantly via phone line, but it can be also face to face counselling).
Shelter is placed at secure and secret location and it is a safe house for victims of family violence where physical security and protection of women and children is provided for a period of 12 months.
Accommodation in shelter is free of charge for the victims and victims are also entitled to free and anonymous legal assistance and, if necessary, to free psychological help. Experts employed in the shelter deal with all aspects of victims’ life (physical and psychological recovery, empowerment, organisation of medical assistance, organisation of education activities, organisation of free legal assistance, assistance in employment; intermediation between the women (and their children) and relevant institutions – social, legal, educational…). Work with women victims of violence involves individual and group work. Support and counselling is provided to women in order to help them to overcome their problems and to empower them for individual life. Furthermore, group work is organised in order to provide women the opportunity to share their experience with other victims and to gain their empathy and support. Work with children in the shelter also involves group and individual work. Through the socialisation and dynamic games children are learning on human relations, nonviolence problem solving methods and so on while through creative work they develop artistic, musical, literary and other expression. Individual work is directed towards a counselling, empowerment, assistance in learning… All activities help them to overcome their emotional problems related to traumatic experiences and contribute to their empowerment.
The only preconditions for accommodation in the shelter are to be a victim of family violence and to accept the rules of the shelter (and the capacity of the shelter, i.e. if there is a free space).
The counselling centre for women victims of violence is also operating and it provides direct service of counselling for women victims of family violence. It encompass counselling activities, supportive activities as well as provision of information on different aspects of problems victims are facing (if necessary also an assistance in gaining their rights). They provide phone counselling (call is free of charge; 0800 55 44) which is operating every working day (11.00-17.00). Furthermore they provide legal assistance (e.g. legal actions related to divorce, custody, maintenance…) and psychological counselling. All the services provided are free of charge for the victim.
They are also organising different educational activities for women and institutions on the issue of family violence. They monitor legislation on family violence and publish publications on family violence.
Aims and objectives
? to provide support and help for women and their children who have been exposed to psychical, psychological, sexual or economic violence in the family
? physical and psychological recovery and empowerment of women and children
? dealing with existential problems of women
? work on strengthening the women so they can take control over their lives
? improvement of the position of women survivors of domestic violence
? to inform women on all their rights (social rights, working rights, information on employment, housing, schooling for the children, continuing education for the women with the purpose of getting better jobs…)
? to increase public awareness as well as lobbying for the rights of victims of family violence in order to improve treatment of women victims of domestic violence
Results and impact
According to the Law on protection of confidentiality of personal data all the data on their shelter are declared as confidential, so the information on their operation are scarce.
In 2007 the City of Zagreb and Government provided them with a new facility which was adopted according to their needs (especially having in mind security settings). The capacity of new shelter is 40 beds (with new facility the capacity of the shelter have been increased). According to the available data in 2011 48 persons were accommodated in the shelter (18 women with 30 children). Furthermore 1.249 persons have been using counselling services in 2011.
Services are free of charge what allows easy access for the victims.
AUTONOMNA ŽENSKA KUĆA ZAGREB (Autonomous Women's House Zagreb - AWHZ)