Daphne Toolkit

Empowering Care. Empowering girls in residential care against violence against women

Project Reference Number: 
JUST/2012/DAP/AG/3078

Empowering Care. Empowering girls in residential care against violence against women

Aim

  • to acquire knowledge about the prevalence and characteristics of experiences of violence against girls aged 14-­18 in residential care, as well as their belief on gender roles and stereotypes, and sexual and affective relationships.

  • to invest the knowledge created through research in developing and implementing empowerment programmes for girls in care, allowing them to protect from and prevent future situation of violence, especially intimate partner violence.

  • to sensitise professionals working in residential care about the need to take into account a gender perspective when working with girls, and to provide them with tools to accompany them in the girls’ empowerment.

  • to raise awareness among decision makers, civils servants and other relevant stakeholders in the EU about the need to include gender violence prevention and protection and empowerment programmes in the services provision to girls in care.

Activities

In order to achieve these objectives, several activities were carried out:

  • Qualitative research to obtain information from both the girls in care and the professionals working with them on the prevalence and characteristics of their experiences of violence, as well as their perception about gender roles and sexual and affective relationships.

  • Pilot test of the empowerment programmes for girls in residential care in 5 EU countries specifically adapted to their needs. The programmes aimed at providing girls with personal competences enabling them to be engaged in positive intimate relationship based on gender equality and foster their protection and prevention from violence.

  • Publication of a Handbook for professionals working with girls in care with information about girls’ reality and specific orientations to foster girls’ empowerment.

  • Dissemination, awareness raising and lobbying activities, including the website, the organisation of sensitisation seminars for professionals and final conferences in all partner countries.

Results

Empowering Care achieved an increased knowledge on the prevalence and characteristics of past and present experiences of violence and abuse perpetrated against young women aged 14-18 living in residential care institutions in the EU. Moreover, the project also achieved their empowerment which will allow them to protect themselves from future situations of violence.

An increased knowledge about the prevalence and characteristics of experiences of violence against girls living in residential care, both before and after entering care institutions, as well as their beliefs on gender roles and stereotypes.

The empowerment of girls living in residential care as a way to better protect themselves from future situations of violence.

Sensitised professionals working with girls in residential care about the need to take gender perspective into account and how to empower girls.

An enhanced awareness among decision-makers, civil servants and other relevant stakeholders in the EU about the need to include gender violence prevention and empowerment programmes in the service provision of girls living in residential care.

Empowering Care had different kinds of impacts:

The pilot test generated impact on the lives of the girls. The programmes were highly well evaluated by the girls and in some occasion professionals could see changes in girls’ attitudes and ways of behaving. The empowerment sessions did have an impact on girls’ lives and may help them to protect themselves from future situations of violence.

The availability of the Empowering Care handbook (freely downloadable form the project website) ensures that professionals from all over Europe have access to it. By providing professionals with appropriate gender-based tools specifically addressing the needs of girls victims of violence living in residential care, they contribute to the introduction of gender perspective into the centers’ dynamics and intervention.

Strengthened relation between partner organisations and public bodies in charge of children issues and children rights in 5 partner countries. In some occasions this has generated further collaborations.

It widened research on underdocumented issues (i.e. the situation and experiences of violence of girls living in residential care) beyond small-scale national research. The comparative research report provided European-wide information and offered information on the situation of the girls in residential care setting in 5 EU Member States.

It addressed the lack of effective tools and methods for professionals to help them to understand the past experiences of violence of the girls. In this sense, the gender-based empowerment programme gathered in the Handbook gave professionals the tools needed to address girls' needs in residential care settings.

It provided professionals and policy-makers with policy recommendations on how to enhance the protection of girls and foster violence prevention programmes targeting girls in residential care.

Dissemination

The target groups of the project were reached by different dissemination activities:

Website of the project:

Includes information on the project, as well as downloadable versions of all products of the project. The public access to all materials guarantees dissemination of the results of the project to all direct and indirect beneficiary groups in the whole of the ELI. It is also a sensitisation tool aimed at professionals in the public and private sector working with girls placed in residential care (e.g. social educators, psychologist, teachers); politicians, policy-makers and civil servants working in public administrations; researchers on violence against women and girls, as well as on residential care institutions and other stakeholders potentially interested in the project results. During the whole implementation of the project, the website received approximately 235800 accesses (11790/month *20months).

E-mail dissemination of the research reports: national research reports elaborated by each partner and the European comparative report were widely disseminated to several target groups: professionals working with girls in residential care institutions (e.g. social educators, psychologists, etc.), politicians, policy, civil servants and researchers. The research report reached 462 people.

Email dissemination of policy recommendations: policy recommendations were disseminated to politicians, policy-makers and civil servants working in public administration in the whole of the EU. The policy recommendations reached more than 288 people. In Bulgaria, the political recommendations were sent to 50 people, in Finland to 106 and in Spain to 97. In Italy the political recommendations were given to the 35 participants of the Final Conference. In Cyprus, the dissemination was done via the MIGS website.

The Flandbook to professionals: Flandbook to professionals (paper copies in Finland, Bulgaria, Spain and Italy and USB in Cyprus – printed copies).

Email dissemination of the Flandbook (printed in Spanish, Italian, Bulgarian and Finnish)
In Bulgaria via email to 111 persons, in Spain to 92 persons and in Italy to 80 persons, in Cyprus (by posting the information at MIGS website). In Finland, the Flandbook was disseminated by conventional post.

Conferences: in the 5 partner countries

The project results were distributed to key beneficiaries: professionals in the public and private sector working with girls placed in residential care (e.g. social educators, psychologist, teachers); politicians, policy-makers and civil servants working in public administrations; researchers on violence against women and girls, as well as on residential care institutions and other stakeholders.

Leaflets for dissemination

Sensitisation seminar with professionals

Press releases: Two press releases

Local/national platform of experts: in the 5 partner countries

- social networks like Facebook (Spain, Bulgaria)

- Cyprus to the specific target groups (front-line professionals and relevant services and NGOs working with the target group) due to the restrictions imposed by Social Welfare Services who are the legal guardians of the girls in residential care.