Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

The threat of violence against women has grown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to lockdowns in the countries, many victims of violence may not have received adequate assistance at the right time. In these conditions, the role of institutions for the rehabilitation of victims of violence is extremely important.

In Uzbekistan, the Republican Center for the Rehabilitation and Adaptation of Victims of Violence was established by a presidential decree on July 2, 2018 in order to improve the system of social rehabilitation and adaptation. Currently, there are 197 such centers in Uzbekistan.

In January-September 2020, these centers received 14,849 cases. In 5796 cases, psychological assistance was provided, in 3680 - legal, in 503 cases, citizens received medical assistance, in 1553 other types of assistance were provided.

On November 18, in order to study leading international experience in working with victims of violence and provide them with timely assistance, an online training seminar was organized on the topic “Effective management of shelters. Swedish experience ”.

The training seminar was organized by the Commission on Gender Equality of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ministry of Support for Mahalla and Family in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) within the framework of the project “Empowering women to participate in public administration and socio-economic life ”with the financial support of the Swedish government.

The training was attended by the heads and employees of all the Centers for Rehabilitation and Adaptation of Victims of Violence and Suicide Prevention, as well as employees of the system of the Ministry of Support for Mahalla and Family.

Leading specialists and experts from Sweden on the protection of women's rights and work with victims of violence shared their experience on the methods of communication with victims of violence, organizing the activities of shelters, receiving social assistance and raising funds.

First Deputy Minister for Support of Mahalla and Family Gulnora Marufova noted the importance of this training and said: “In the context of today's pandemic, cases of violence against women are increasing. Therefore, the role of rehabilitation institutions for women who have become victims of violence is increasing. At the moment, by studying international practice, a lot of work is being carried out to introduce advanced experience into national legislation, improve the activities of rehabilitation centers and their material support”.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Uzbekistan Doina Munteanu noted: “Today’s training-seminar is a good opportunity to get familiar with the international experience in order to better organize and run shelters in Uzbekistan by adapting and applying international practices, search for and find social support and funds for the local shelters, develop shelters’ staff’s expertise in psychological and legal assistance to the victims of GBV. We suggest other sessions on this topic to exchange skills, views and knowledge on shelter management, with the same auditory  to mobilize its potential in moving this agenda forward”.

Doina Munteanu shared the results of the survey, which was conducted from May to July of this year by the Ministry for Support of Mahalla and Family together with UNDP, to assess the economic and social impact of the nationwide quarantine undertaken by the government to limit the spread of COVID-19 on various social groups, including the most vulnerable and women. One of the main conclusions drawn from the analysis of the survey results showed that the pandemic had a disproportionate negative impact on the economic, social and psychological well-being of women, thereby increasing the risk of domestic violence.

Women’s rights and protection expert at UNIZON Maria Björsson introduced the participants to the types of shelters in Sweden, ways of seeking help for victims of violence, coordinating the activities of all shelters in the country and about organized teamwork in them. She also noted that in Sweden, local authorities are obliged by law to provide assistance and protection to women and children who have been victims of violence.

Organizational developer at Kvinnojouren Karlskrona Ulrika Bodin talked about how the mechanism for accepting victims of violence into shelters in Sweden works. According to her, before assigning a victim of violence, an analysis of the risks of the situation is carried out. After that, a plan is drawn up to provide the necessary types of assistance and protection.

 

In addition, the participants learned about the principle of case management in shelters, methods of financing them, the practice of Swedish shelters in providing psychological support, social and legal assistance to victims of violence.

At the end of the event participants received answers from specialists on issues of interest to them.

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