Living FREE of violence - A campaign to prevent violence against women and children
For many women, violence against women, be it at work, in public space, in an intimate relationship or in the home, is still a part of everyday life of many women - also in Austria.
There are many forms of violence against women; one of the most common forms is domestic violence. 90% of all violent acts experienced by women happen in the context of the family or in the close social environment. Home is therefore not automatically a place of love, trust and harmony. Children are always affected from domestic violence: either they are themselves subjected to ill treatments, or they are indirectly affected by having to witness the violence experienced by their mother. The whole extent of domestic violence against women and their children can only be estimated. A great part of women and children affected by violence report violence only after a very long time period, or they do not report it at all. The reasons for this are manifold: A high sense of responsibility for their family, shame or emotional dependence, as well as difficult financial circumstances are aspects that hinder women from reporting violence. Despite many improvements for affected women in the last decades, violence against women is still deeply rooted in our society. This must change!
Women and children have the right to a life free from violence!
The EU campaign to prevent violence against women and children is based on this belief. Living FREE of Violence (GewaltFREI leben) is coordinated by the Federal Ministry for Education and Women’s Affairs and implemented by the association “Autonomous Austrian Women’s Shelters “(Verein Autonome Österreichische Frauenhäuser – AÖF) in cooperation with the Vienna Intervention Center against Violence in the Family (Wiener Interventionsstelle gegen Gewalt in der Familie) and the Austrian National Youth Council (Bundesjugendvertretung). In the years 2014 and 2015, numerous projects aiming at awareness-raising for the issue of violence against women and children and providing valuable prevention work will be implemented.
At the same time the phone number of the Women’s Helpline against Violence (Frauenhelpline gegen Gewlat) 0800/222 555 will be disseminated within the whole territory of Austria, as women and children who are subjected to psychological, physical and/or sexual threats, ill-treatments or suppression, are in need of help and assistance. The staff of the helpline offer their anonymous, cost-free and multi-lingual counseling services 24 hours a day on 365 days of the year.
With our active support, numerous activities can be implemented in institutions, organizations and associations – there are no limits to ideas. They are a valuable contribution to the prevention of violence against women and children!
Some further projects are centrally organized in the frame of “Living FREE of violence”:
Living FREE of violence - With your support
The coopearation with partners is at the center of "Living FREE of violence - With your support". The campaign is based on cooperation between committed persons from all corners of society. Anyone can be a partner - as an employee in a small company or a large concern, or in a social care institution, who wants to get active at their place of work or among their acquaintances, in their neighbourhood or town, to help prevent domestic violence against women. We are ready to provide assistance, in line with your specific needs and requirements!
Support our efforts to combat the tendency to view violence as a private problem of the women and families affected, or as a "women´s issue", and help us raise awareness of what domestic violence actually is: a violation of human rights which concerns us all!
Living FREE of violence - empowerment of immigrants
Under the title “Living FREE of violence - empowerment of immigrants”, existing networks with migrant communites and migrant organizations are intensified and new networks will be built.
Migrant women are not more frequently affected by domestic violence than other women, however, legal and structural circumstances often make it more difficult for them to free themselves from a violent relationship. For example, problems linked to residence status or financial, social or cultural issues make the situation of migrant women more difficult. Therefore it is particularly important to ensure in the best possible way the access to information as well as to counselling and support for migrant women.
Living FREE of violence – Supported by my hospital
Violence against women entails negative health consequences, including physical injuries, but also chronic or psychological diseases. The health system is therefore an important contact point for women affected by violence and can to a great extent contribute to prevent violence against women and to enhance the treatment of consequences of violence. Furthermore, criminal procedures against perpetrators can be more easily conducted when professional documentation of injuries can be provided. However, this requires a long term sensitization for the issue – in the frame of the campaign, this sensitization should be further increased, with the aim to sustainably enshrine directives for dealing with violence against women in hospitals.
Living FREE of violence – Prevention of femicide and severe forms of violence
Violence against women has many aspects – the tip of the iceberg is murder. Every year, women are murdered by their partners or ex-partners, sometimes in front of their children. In many cases, murder is the atrocious peak of a long history of violence, and most often, the murderers are announcing their deed in advance. In the context of the campaing, professional helpers from different areas should receive professional input on how to identify possible high risk cases. At the same time, a framework for networking is offered. The protection of women and their children should be enhanced by the creation of multi-institutional teams, which should also contribute to prevent attempts of murders and murders of women and children.
Living FREE of violence – Media-Workshop
More than ever, the media are shaping society. They do not only serve for communication and the dissemination of information, but also for the awareness-raising and opinion making. The media have widely contributed to allow a public discourse on violence against women and children to take place. However, qualitative coverage of the topic of violence against women and children still needs to fight against stereotypes. In the frame of the campaign, a publication on sensitive coverage of violence against women will be written together with journalists, in order to reach already today the opinion makers of tomorrow.
Living FREE of violence – You & me
In order to allow a change of mentality in society and to be able to sustainably prevent violence against women and children, the youngest members of society have to be reached first, as they will shape the life of tomorrow. Within the timeframe of the campaign, at least 1500 children and juveniles should be reached in the frame of workshops in youth centers, children- and youth-organizations and schools, and be sensitized for the topic.
Info-Package - Materials
Additionally, a comprehensive info package on the topic of violence against women has been elaborated. Information for affected women on first steps out of a violent relationship is offered in the following languages: German, English, Turkish and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.
The info package informs about the details of the campaign, the issue of violence against women and children and the projects in the context of Living FREE of violence.