Making it real! Stop violence!
It is well known that domestic violence transcends all boundaries and occurs in all cultures Albania comes from a very patriarchal society with a long history of male domination, which is common for the Balkan tradition. Women have long been taught to accept submissive roles. During the communist period, there was a great gap between women’s theoretical emancipation and the circumstances of everyday life. With the fall of the communist regime in 1991, Albania has undergone a period of deep and often dramatic social, political and economic change that is having a great impact on the life of Albanians. Gender equality is a principle that is new to Albanian society and has not yet been embraced by a significant percentage of the population.
Cultural implications • Before the fall of the communism, 70% of the population was living in rural areas so that’s why is dominating a strong peasant culture. • Women are being married at early stages of their life, the marriages are arranged by the parents. • According to the traditional rules, women do all the housework. The patriarchal rural family fostered the ideal of a submissive and passive woman, obedient to father, and later to husband. • Especially in the north of the country women that were physically abused from their father and brothers, when they were getting married where physically abused from their husband and sometimes from their mothers-in-law. • Most of these families left their houses in the north and came to live in the capital city and surroundings. • Tirana, the capital city of Albania that used to be a city of 300 thousand people, now is almost 1 million, which means 1/3 of the whole population of the country.
Progress Diagram Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 1 Some male partners prohibit women from going to work. Women’s economic contributions to the family do not reduce or influence the dominant position of their husbands within the family. Physical violence ranges from a slap to an assault with a deadly weapon. Physical violence is very often accompanied by attempts to control the wife’s social interactions, to monitor her movements. Women’s testimonies prove that abuse is a complex phenomenon because it includes various forms, ranging from humiliation, threats and social isolation to coercive sex and battering.
CCWG opened its doors on October 1, 1996, in Tirana. At the beginning CCWG provided psycho-social support for abused women through a phone help line that functioned 6 days a week. Later CCWG started to provide face to face and group counseling. 45 counseling experts were trained through CCWG, college-educated women with background in social work, psychology, psychiatry, teaching, and medicine. Counseling Center for Women & Girls (CCWG)
Counseling Center for Women & Girls (CCWG) • The center has been supported by Leading European and North American experts and institutions (SNV, NOVIB, OXFAM, Irish Aid/ Health Action Overseas, UNICEF, etc.) Beginning November 1997 the Center expanded its work in other regions such as:* Shkodra (Northern Albania), * Pogradec (South Eastern Albania),* Berat (Middle Albania) regions with high levels of violence against women, including trafficking for forced prostitution.
Counseling Center for Women & Girls (CCWG) • This Center serves a vulnerable group in the society. • It has almost 15 years of successful experience in supporting women victims of violence, and employs highly skilled staff trained in Albania and abroad by leading European and US-based institutions. • CCWG is part of the Network against Gender-based Violence (NGBV) in Albania.
The Network against Gender based Violence and Trafficking The Shelter for abused women Counseling Center for Women and Girls The Center for Legal and Civic Initiatives The chain of services “Refleksione” Association Employment Center Gender Alliance for Development Center
Services provided by CCWG • On-the-phone • Individual face-to-face • Group counseling • Psychological and social support to victims of violence against women • Research on violence against women in Albania • Awareness activities targeting potential victims of violence against women and the public at large • Capacity building for support mechanisms and people for victims of violence against women • Advocacy efforts for the advancement of women’s rights in Albania.
184.108.40.206 -On-the-phone, individual face-to-face, and group counseling, as well as psychological and social support to victims of violence against women • In 15 years since its establishment, around 41,000 women from all over Albania have received counseling and support over the phone. 8,700 of them benefited from face-to-face counseling and more than 4,500 have participated in group counseling.
5-Research on violence against women in Albania • The Center published a collection of testimonies of women who benefited from the Center’s services. The book serves both as an awareness raising and an advocacy tool on behalf of women victims of violence. The book entitled “Without a beginning, without an end” is widely used by our Center and other organizations that work on women’s rights issues. • CCWG made a survey for the level of domestic violence in north of Albania (68% of the women responded that they are abused). The results were published in many daily newspapers.
6-Awareness raising activities targeting potential victims of violence against women and the public at large • CCGW has been continuously engaged in awareness raising efforts targeting both potential victims of violence against women and the public at large. This includes: • Publishing and distributing informative and educational leaflets and posters; • Producing and broadcasting TV and radio spots and special programs; • Contributing extensively to TV, radio, and newspapers debates on women’s rights issues.
6-Awareness raising activities targeting potential victims of violence against women and the public at large • Over the years The Center has also organized series of workshops and facilitated discussions in high schools and work places focused on raising awareness about violence against women and trafficking, as well providing information about legal and practical support mechanism for victims of violence.
7-Capacity building for support mechanisms and people for victims of violence against women • CCWG has provided training on violence against women to police, judges, educators, doctors and social workers, as well as public officials in city halls and prefectures of the country. • CCWG has provided technical assistance, training, mentoring, and on-the-job training to all centers that provide support for victims of violence against women in Albania.
8-Advocacy efforts for the advancement of women’s rights in Albania • CCWG as part of NGBV has engaged in several advocacy efforts. • CCWG was primary partner in working on the Albanian Family Code (the law was approved by the Albanian Parliament); • CCWG provided input to the discussion on the law on gender equality; • CCWG provided input to the discussion on the law on social assistance and services. • CCWG participated in the working group that drafted the law against gender-based violence.
The law background The new law against domestic violence entered into force only in June 2007. The secondary laws that specified details for implementation have also been approved. Women were not protected from the government. According to the old law Kanun, the men even have the right to beat their wives, whereas women should be obedient to their husbands. In 2008 the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities approved the strategy for gender equality and against domestic violence thought to be the formal instrument for implementation of the law. Until 2007 Albania didn't have any law addressing the issue of domestic violence.
Activities supporting the implementation of the law • Brochure on responsibilities for implementing DV Law • Radio Spot • Posters: “What you can do!”
1- Brochure on responsibilities for implementing DV Law • Brochure was used in meetings and workshops, in order to better present the DV Law to different target groups. • The brochure contained explanations for the legal changes based on DV Law, main things people must be aware in order to use and be protected from this law, as well as concrete illustrative case studies on what we can do and how we can react in DV cases.
2- Radio Spot • This public awareness tool was launched during the campaign we have organized in the frame of 16 Days of Activism against VAW last year. The reason was based on the fact that this year was considered as the “Year against DV” from Albanian Government and many similar initiatives were launched during the reporting period of time from central government
3- Posters: “What you can do!” • This poster contains messages addressed not only to women but also to the whole family: • Stop DV! • Know your rights! • There exists a Law that protects you now! • Please call: (telephone numbers)
Conclusion • Cooperation with public institutions is crucial for the sake of the issue: only through such a mechanism all relevant actors get involved and domestic violence can be addressed properly • Civil society role is not only the service provider but also it has an important role on advocacy