Gender Based Violence
Gender-based violence is a global problem to which no one has yet found a cross-board solution. Because of this, the issue is highly relevant and suitable for regional as well as international cooperation between institutions working in the field of women subject to gender based violence and their children.
Domestic violence cuts across boundaries of culture, class, education, income, ethnicity and age.
It is argued that violence against women not only devastates the lives of women and children and fractures communities, but it also impedes economical development. Gender based violence (and domestic violence in particular) is addressed by governments and, even more rigorously, by civil societies in both the Arab region and in Denmark. Cooperation as well as the exchange of knowledge and experiences helps support and strengthen this work.
KVINFO is engaged in the following projects:
- Seminar on identification of challenges and cooperation.
In June 2008 KVINFO organized a first seminar for Danish and Arab participants in Magleaas, Denmark in order to discuss common challenges and to identify possible areas for future cooperation. The participants from Denmark, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Morocco showed a common interest in cooperation, and discussions demonstrated a significant basis for fruitful professional exchanges. The participants wanted to share experiences concerning shelters for women victims of violence, and it was concluded that a real need for more regional and international networking exists.
- Shelters and counselling centres (read more about the project here)
Following the Magleaas seminar, the Danish shelter Dannerhuset in 2008 initiated a staff exchange with several Moroccan shelters and counselling centres. And in September 2009, the first Danish-Arabic training workshop for shelter staff was jointly organized by Dannerhuset and KVINFO. More workshops were held in 2010 and more are to held during 2011. Other Arab and Danish partners will co-organize the workshops that will take place in various parts of the Arab region.
Futhermore, it is possible for shelters to recieve support for staff exchanges through a particular fund established with this specific aim. The fund supports travel expenses and accomodation during staff exchanges.
Several Arab countries have recently initiated establishing of new shelters for women victims of violence and have begun to recognise the necessity of such shelters. Howener, practical experience in the running of shelters is still very limited. On the other hand, Danish shelters hold more than 30 years of experience in working with women victims of voilence and their children, and they have amassed extensive knowledge on how to deal with the phenomenon in a professional manner.
- Regional and international networking – an Arab observatory against violence
One specific kind of regional networking is taking place through the establishment of so-called violence observatories. The European Observatory against Violence against Women plays a very important role at two levels: 1. In strengthening the political awareness of the problem of gender-based violence. 2: In a continual push to develop national plans of action to prevent violence.
The Danish National Observatory on Violence against Women supports a preparatory committee comprising members from four Arab countries working to establish an Arab regional observatory. This Arab observatory will:
- Promote dialogue on violence against women between women NGOs in the region
- Serve as a necessary base of ressources for women NGO's in countries with little or no legislation on violence against women
- Enable women NGOs in the region, on a joint basis, to cooperate with the European Observatory on Violence Against Women and other European organizations.
- The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
- For most women, the most likely place to experience violence is in their private homes. Although it is widely recognised that domestic violence is widespread globally, it is very difficult to estimate its exact prevalence. Domestic violence is a sensitive issue in most places, and in many places – including the Arab region – very few official statistics exist. Surveys from around the world indicate that between 16 and 50 percent of all women are subject to domestic violence.