About 25% of all women in Germany have experienced some kind of violence which caused long-term mental and physical health problems. Studies made by the other EU-countries show that the situation across Europe is comparable. The number of persons suffering for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by rape is up to 80%. It affects mostly women and girls. Unspecific symptoms of the complex PTSD are often examined without connection to prior cause of traumatic events. Persons working in social, psychological and medical care systems are usually the first ones to whom the traumatized women speak to. A lack of knowledge and incompetence of these persons could lead to diagnostic errors, expensive and improper treatments as well as chronic diseases and endless struggling in the health system. Former DAPHNE projects confirm that conclusion in reference to all member states.
The project distributed educational material for training during the previous Daphne-projects. The concept and training materials were developed, translated and implemented in 18 EU member states in the former projects. An evaluation confirms their ability for international dissemination with regards to content and form. This material was now adapted (DVD/CD-R) by the German coordinator and the involved partner organisations in Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Rumania, Slovenia, Spain, Austria and the Netherlands to the particular demands of their respective clients and their countries (translations, additions, trainings, and evaluations). Together with the results of previous Daphne-projects the educational film, background information and templates as well as the main concept were translated in other 10 languages and are now available in all European languages.
The trainings are meant for employees in psychosocial counselling centres of both medical and non-medical care. Their aim is to improve the level of information about and the capacity to act of those who professionally deal with traumatised women and girls. Employees are to be enabled to earlier recognise disease patterns caused by violence (especially posttraumatic stress disorder), to help the victims of violence get qualified counselling and refer them to specialists. The project partners furthermore founded the „European Trauma Network FOCUSSING ON violence against women“. Their aim is to link co-workers concerned with this work throughout Europe and facilitate a professional exchange about „PTSD as consequence of violence against women and girls“. A website in English was installed, which is accessible throughout Europe (http://join-the-net.eu/website/), but there are also websites in the respective national languages. In the near future national websites are planned for every participating country. This network means to be a platform for professionals who seek information beyond their own countries, but also aims to provide information for actual victims of violence.
The material provided includes information about members, about the definition, prevalence and symptoms of PTSD, about the above mentioned trainings, and general related activities. The national sites offer professionals advanced vocational training by the network members, and actual victims may find counsel offered by their respective countries. The network members are committed to further the interests of and provide appropriate care for women and girls who were victims of violence. Thus it is an active instrument of public relations and health policy and raised awareness to the health consequences of rape and to the need of establishing an adequate support system for the victims.
Links to past projects:
JAI/DAP/2004-2/1031/ WYC „JoinTheNet II“
JLS/2006/DAP-1/109/W „JoinTheNet III“