The project addresses the problem of gender-based violence. According to police statistics, more than 65,000 women in Wrocław and Lower Silesia experienced violence in 2019. Unfortunately, this phenomenon has intensified during the pandemic. In addition, the socio-political context, including the announcement of the denunciation of the so-called anti-violence convention by the authorities, is not conducive to improving the situation of women. According to research by the Centre for Women’s Rights, between 400 and 500 women die at the hands of perpetrators every year. Women who have experienced partner violence, as well as those who have come out of violent relationships, are invisible and unheard in the public space. Advocacy in this area is now being done by women and experts fighting to change laws, procedures and detabalization of gender-based violence.
As part of the project, a group of 14 volunteers who had experienced domestic violence in the past were prepared for their role as self-advocates. The participants took part in several thematic workshops. They then carried out a social campaign against violence and set up a profile “Untangled from Violence” on social media. An important element of the project was the launch of an E-mail Help Point for women experiencing violence, where clients could receive both legal or psychological support and help from the volunteers themselves.
As a result of the project, 14 women with a history of domestic violence became involved in supporting other women with experience of violence. They improved their communication and social competences and learned how to intervene in crisis situations. They regained their agency and became involved with other women (the self-advocacy group continues to work together even after the project, engaging in helping women). In addition, 44 women also received psychological and legal assistance as part of the project. An important result of the project was also the combination of the offer of professionals (legal or psychological support) with the support of the self-advocates.