Partners share positive experience at meeting in Brussels
On June 27-28, MHE hosted the 3rd Partners meeting of the project “Train, Improve,Reduce,” where the state of play of the project was presented, along with the future events that will take place before its end in December 2012. Project Manager Karina Huberman explained that the 2nd phase of the project started in the month of April, with the pilot trainings on the mental health aspects of domestic violence. The first training took place was in Cyprus in April, followed by Slovenia and Belgium in the month of May, and Austria, Romania and France in June.
All partners agreed that trainings constituted positive experiences for their beneficiaries, who lacked information about mental health issues and expressed interest in having more trainings of this kind.
Partners were also able to discuss the Policy Recommendations that will emerge out of the project with MHE Director Maria Nyman, and receive a training on dissemination strategies and website development from MHE Information and Communications Officer Silvana Enculescu.
Slovenia and Belgium train police officers on mental health and domestic violence
As part of the implementation of the pilot trainings developed by the MHE-led Daphne Project “Train, Improve, Reduce” Slovenia and Belgium took their turn in hosting the workshops during the month of May. The training sessions, covering domestic violence and mental health, were organised by the project partners SENT (Slovenia) and CAW Artevelde (Belgium), and presented an opportunity for police staff to gain a better understanding of the mental health consequences of domestic violence. For many participants, this was the first opportunity to learn about the link between mental health problems and intimate-partner violence.
The trainings addressed not only the mental health impact of domestic violence, but also the need for police staff to understand the cycle of intimate partner violence, in order to both avoid their own frustration when dealing with such cases, and to mitigate the
psychological impact they may face when aiding victims of domestic violence.
First police training takes place in Cyprus
On April 24, Cyprus hosted the first of a series of six pilot trainings developed under the Project Train, Improve, Reduce led by Mental Health Europe under the European Union Daphne Programme. The pilot training on domestic violence and mental health was organized by the project partner Advocacy Group for the Mentally Ill (AGMI), and was attended by 18 members from the Cyprus police, from police officers to sergeants and inspectors. Participants to the training showed great satisfaction with the content of the session, as for most of them it was their first opportunity to find out about the links between mental health problems and intimate partner violence.
The training also addressed the need for police staff to understand the cycle of domestic violence, in order to both avoid their own frustration when dealing with such cases, and to mitigate the psychological impact they may have when aiding victims of domestic violence.
The pilot trainings, which will be held in May and June in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Romania and Slovenia seek to give police staff thorough knowledge of the psychological problems associated with domestic violence and to provide them with skills to support them in improving their interventions.
Police and NGOs engage in dialogue at Daphne project meeting
Train, Improve, Reduce. Diminish the mental health and psychological consequences
of violence against women by dismantling prejudices of law enforcement agents,
MHE’s project funded through the Daphne programme, held its second partners meeting on September 20-21, 2011. As well as hosting the project partners, which came from six European countries, Mental Health Europe also welcomed speakers from the Federal and Local Belgium Police, Prof. Myriam Van Moffaert from University of Ghent, Maude Luherne from AGE Platform Europe, Eve Geddie from PICUM and Pierrette Pape from European Women’s Lobby.
The presentations, which focused on the mental health aspects of domestic violence, its
European dimension and police response, also addressed the particular aspects associated
with intimate partner violence in vulnerable groups.
On the second day of the meeting, the project partners agreed on the methodology for the
training sessions that will be organized for police officers between January and May 2012.
Previous to the meeting, the project’s Advisory Committee was established, and will include European Women’s Lobby, Age Platform, PICUM, European Disability Forum, and the European Institute for Women’s Health.
MHE Consults with UN Rapporteur on violence against women
MHE participated in a Regional Consultation meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on
violence against women, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, who presented her mandate and gathered
information from EU NGOs about violence against women in Europe.
The meeting, organised by the European Women’s Lobby and UN Women, was an opportunity for 27 EU organisations to meet and discuss the issue of violence against women at European level, and provide information about the regional situation to the UN Raporteur. Participants had the opportunity to express the main challenges they identified at European level, where MHE raised the need to translate policy and law into concrete action and the need of a framework to ensure that there is law enforcement.
Ms Manjoo reiterated that all forms of violence against women are human rights violations,
which are not negotiable, even in time of crisis, and that all governments have an obligation to take reasonable action to prevent, protect against, prosecute, punish and provide redress for violence against women. The Special Rapporteur presented the 2011 Report “Violence against women, its causes and consequences” which examines intersecting forms of discrimination in the context of violence against women, and provides a conceptual framework. It also considers inter-gender and intra-gender differences, arguing that the one-size-fits-all programmatic approach is insufficient for combating gender-based violence. Even though all women are at risk of experiencing violence, not all women are equally susceptible to acts of violence.
The report proposed a holistic approach to conceptualizing and addressing the issue by considering human rights as universal, interdependent and indivisible, situating violence against women as a continuum, acknowledging the structural aspects and factors of discrimination and analyzing social and/or economic hierarchies between women and men and also among women.
MHE gains valuable info from Belgian police and women’s shelter
With the Daphne project still in its research phase, MHE is taking up every opportunity to
assess the impact of domestic violence from as many angles as possible. Therefore, MHE
Daphne Project Coordinator Karina Huberman and MHE Senior Policy Officer Josée Van
Remoortel visited a shelter for battered women in Ghent, Belgium, where they had the
opportunity to discuss MHE‟s project with the authorities of the shelter and get input from
the perspective of an organization dealing with abused women on a daily basis.
MHE also met the Adjoint Secretary of the Permanent Commission of the Belgium Local Police, who represents all local police services on a national level and who provided MHE with valuable information and suggestions, especially regarding the future training sessions
involving law enforcement agents. Moreover, MHE had a meeting with the Ghent local police, who showed a lot of interest in the project and provided first hand information on how police deal with situations of domestic violence.
Last but not least, MHE was invited to participate in a police Expert Group meeting, where
Karina Huberman presented the Daphne Project and had a lively debate with police trainers, psychologists and police staff, who shared their experience in the field.
EU Daphne Project kicks off with lively discussion
On March 1, 2011 MHE hosted the kick-off meeting of the EU Daphne Project “Train, Improve, Reduce! Diminishing the mental health impact of violence against women by training law enforcement agents,” welcoming partners from Cyprus, France, Romania, Austria and Slovenia.
Prompted by the knowledge that every fifth woman in Europe has been subjected to intimate partner violence, the project aims at providing police agents with knowledge about the mental health aspects associated to domestic violence, and train the police on how to behave in these cases. As police officers are the first contacts of women denouncing intimate partner violence, it is fundamental to raise awareness of the problems involved in dealing with victims of domestic abuse, and above all, to improve their ability to perceive and respond to the victims’ mental health needs.
The 2-year project will develop training modules targeted at police agents, along with a handbook and policy recommendations which will be presented at the Final Conference in autumn 2012.