The main aim of this project was to find a common approach to assist all women in the European Union who are victims of domestic violence.
‘Adhikar’ is a Hindi word adopted to mean ‘It’s my right’. Three conferences, in the UK, Germany and Sweden, helped to refine the issues and to sensitise decision-makers and policy-makers to the need for a multi-agency approach to domestic violence. More than 200 delegates attended each conference, which provided information for a manual on good practice, published after the conclusion of the project. A resource guide was also developed by the UK partners for distribution to clients, with German and Swedish versions to follow.
Multi-agency working groups in each project country were strengthened and expanded to include international partners.
The Adhikar Protocol of Co-operation against Domestic Violence, which includes 10 basic principles and minimum standards for inter-agency work, was signed by partners in all three project countries.
Waltham Forest representatives discussed the strengths and weaknesses of their own multi-agency experience with Social Services, Police and Refuge representatives in Mannheim and Pitea. All partners agreed that a multi-agency working group required the support of policy- and decision-makers for it to be effective in tackling domestic violence.
Partners agreed that all conferences would include elected politicians and senior police officers to raise their awareness of domestic violence and the importance of an inter-agency approach. This enhanced the degree of commitment from partners which is required to tackle domestic violence more effectively. The three conferences confirmed that pockets of good practice exist in all partner countries and that networking is the most effective way to obtain information about these. An Adhikar website was developed by the Waltham Forest Police to provide a mechanism for networking transnationally.
To actually implement good practice, there needs to be a formal commitment from community groups, practitioners, management and politicians. The partners developed the Adhikar Protocol for this purpose. The Adhikar Protocol was publicly endorsed in December 1999 by Pakistan Women’s Welfare Association and senior management representatives from each partner country.
The work initiated by Adhikar set a new agenda. It raised awareness and promoted the idea of multi-agency working and sharing of good practice. There is further work to be undertaken. The monitoring of the protocol agreed between the partners will indicate the levels of commitment and success. Also, further training and dissemination of the manual will have to take place.
The Adhikar project proved that partnership work requires commitment, trust and co-operation from all parties. The size and resources of the partner agencies may vary greatly. This must be acknowledged if stakeholders are to be equal in the partnership.
. Adhikar Procedural Manual (Users’ Strategy Manual), a comprehensive, 240 page, document, including conference speeches, evaluation and copies of Protocol (English)
. Adhikar Domestic Violence Resource Guide (Clients’ Manual)
. Adhikar Protocol of Co-Operation against Domestic Violence
. Conference speeches
. Conference programmes