Domestic violence against women difines as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Some historians believe that the history of domestic violence against women is tied to the history of women being viewed as property and a gender role assigned to be subservient to men and also other women.
Health consequences can result directly from violent acts or from the long-term effects of violence: injuries, death, sexual and reproductive health, risky behaviours and metal problems. The social and economic costs of domestic violence against women are enormous and have ripple effects throughout society. Women may suffer isolation, inability to work, loss of wages, lack of participation in regular activities, and limited ability to care for themselves and their children. 45% of all women in the South Baltic area have been subjected to and suffered from men’s violence. There is no specialized budget line for the fight against domestic violence against women, long term coordination action plan and social awareness.
The main objective of this project is to build the durable network of organisations and institutions combating domestic violence against women in the South Baltic area and adopted the long-term agreement between the representatives of the local authorities from Karshlamn (Sweden), Gdansk (Poland), Kretinga (Lithuania) and Kaliningrad Region. Moreover, because of the lack of the awareness of domestic violence against women among the local communities, we are planning the social campaign that helps to persuade all people that domestic violence against women is the one of the worst crime that hampers the regional local development.
Within the project three study-visits and seminars will be organized in Gdansk, Kretinga and Karshlamn. Partners and the representatives of the local authorities and NGO’s will participate in above events by visiting shelters for victims of violence, the NGO’s offices that combat domestic violence against women, participating in the open debate and meeting with the politician and exchanging experiences.
Moreover it will be organised the final conference in Gdansk where the regional report will be presented “Domestic Violence against Women in the Baltic Sea are” and the long-term agreement between the representatives of the local authorities will be signed. The South Baltic Area Network will be established to promote Free Violence Zone and start common cross-border cooperation. Further it will be created the project website.
Thanks to the project 3 successful international seminaries and study visits took place in Poland, Lithuania and Sweden: "The Perpetrator of Domestic Violence (DV) against Women. Isolation and Therapy" (Gdansk), "Local and International Networks and Their Effectiveness in Solving the Problem of DV", (Kretinga), and “Children as Victims of DV” (Ronneby and Karlshamn): http://www.e-pages.dk/karlskrona/54/9
The project was promoted during the conference "16 days against Violence Against Women" in December 2009 in the Polish Parliament and during the debate on the 8th of March at the Gdansk University.
One of the main accomplishments of the project was the publication of the regional report on DV in 4 countries – including Kaliningrad - which was compiled into one report: http://www.neww.eu/pliki/baltic/raport2.pdf
Kretinga Women's Information and Training Center organized a conference on the governmental Project of Law of Protection from Violence in the Private Space. Other activities included: The social campaign; Public event in Kretinga with a lecture and screening of the movie (August); 3 round table discussions (September, October)on the new Law on DV; seminar on the subject of networks and their effectiveness in case of DV (October); Joining of the national campaign - "White Ribbon" (November,December); Involvement in the campaign against DV initiated by Vilnius Women's Information Centre; Conference on the men's situation and its link to DV (December); Publication of 7 articles on the project in 5 newspapers.
Social campaign in Sweden aimed at reaching as many people as possible. It was achieved by visiting high schools with information about DV. Second aim was to prevent young people from becoming victims or perpetrators of DV. There was also a training on seeking help in case of DV and a film on consequences of being in a violent relationship. Representatives of the Women’s Shelter met the stakeholders and cooperated with many NGOs. They were involved in 3 manifestations and organized 2 seminars. One of the seminars (in September) had MEP Eva-Britt Svensson, as a speaker. Many organizations visited the Women’s Shelter to learn about the project. Women’s Shelter staff was interviewed several times in local and regional TV. The great success of the Swedish partner is that the municipality of Ronneby developed and signed an action plan against domestic violence.
NEWW - Polska concentrated on the broadcasting of the social advertisement. There was a national competition on the video spot. Applications from whole Poland came and have been reviewed. The spot has been broadcasted 45 times in public TV. As a part of the campaign 4 meetings with politicians took place: in Ponievizys (September) with representatives of the Union of The Baltic Cities; with a mayor of Pszczolki (October) with an aim to establish cooperation; with a mayor of Gdansk (November) and with councilors of City of Gdansk (December). NEWW Polska promotes the project widely within local communities and institutions. Institutions like Municipal Social Assistance Centre in Gdansk, Crisis Intervention Centre and Voivodship Centre of the Therapy of Addiction has been involved in project activities.
Seminaries and study visits have been a great inspiration in the region participating in the project. The emerging network is a base for future cooperation and a rich source of knowledge. Another achievement of the project is a website which is updated on a regular basis, with data on DV in the region of the South Baltic.