The scale of violence in Poland is illustrated by data on the Blue Card, which shows that more than 93,000 procedures were initiated in 2018. In Warsaw alone, however, the Blue Line was contacted by relatively few, around 2,000 (2019). This is because large cities are characterised by a high level of anonymity, which is not conducive to asking for help. Many people do not know how to respond to violent situations, believe it is not their role, are afraid for their own safety or have no knowledge of procedures. The pandemic has only exacerbated the problem of violence. At the same time, those working in the institutions of the domestic violence prevention system lack competence-enhancing training, networking activities and measures to counteract professional burnout.
The project was primarily aimed at potential witnesses of violence and services dealing with the prevention of domestic violence, such as the Police, social welfare, counselling centres and schools, NGOs from Warsaw and the surrounding area. Its main elements were seven interactive forum theatre performances with audience participation. Four of them were open to the public (79 people) and three were aimed at representatives of services and institutions dealing with domestic violence (73 people). The performances showed the situation of people caught up in violence and the possibilities to respond and take action to stop violence. Training was also provided for professionals to improve their competencies and guidelines were developed for working with witnesses of violence. Nearly a hundred psychological consultations were also provided to witnesses and a guidebook was developed for them.
Thanks to the project, the existing offer of assistance to victims and witnesses of domestic violence was supplemented. The project has raised public awareness and sensitivity to the phenomenon of violence. Professionals working in the field of counteracting violence in Warsaw, including employees and workers of social welfare, counselling centres and schools, etc., have raised their competences in the area of cooperation and communication with witnesses. In general, the project has increased the attention of representatives of services to the role of witnesses of violence, so far usually neglected, which in the long run may bring such benefits as e.g. cooperation of citizens with services and increased effectiveness of assistance.