On December 6, the report from the “National Study on Financial Independence of Victims of Domestic Violence in Residential Centers,” Released or handcuffed? was released during a special conference in Bucharest, Romania. The study was done through the project “Creative Workshop ADRA House” and was organized by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Romania in partnership with RIN Grand Hotel.
Released or handcuffed? took place during the worldwide campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Violence against Women.” Annually, the campaign begins on November 25, which is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on December 10th, Human Rights Day. This event establishes a symbolic connection between the elimination of violence against women and respect for human rights.
The study evaluated 55 organizations and associations active in the field of domestic violence. The research was carried out on two levels, a national level, by giving a questionnaire to specialists regarding the financial independence of the victims of domestic violence (46 final respondents) and locally, in Bucharest, by organizing 3 focus groups in 3 centers (emergency, recovery, maternity).
The conclusions of the study can be summarized as follows:
- Most centers in Romania are emergency reception centers (22 centers)
- Most centers belong to state institutions (63% of centers)
- In recovery centers, the employment rate is almost double that of emergency centers, and the job loss rate in the former is 0
- Victims often mention economic violence among forms of abuse
- The most frequent manifestations of financial abuse: the prohibition of the victim to work, sabotage him / her, the cost of vices
- Interspersed issues: distrust of having the necessary professional skills, negative emotional state
- Expectations from the host organization include-- aspects of physical survival (food) and supervision of children, followed by those directly related to identifying / supporting a service
- Victims are not financially independent when leaving centers (time - can not be estimated)
- Multidisciplinary and inter-institutional team building for case monitoring after leaving centers
"ADRA Romania's projects on domestic violence shows the organization's constant concern for this category of beneficiaries. We want to offer not only support services in the "ADRA House" shelter that we run, but also support for gaining financial independence and human dignity, which we have been following through the "Creative Workshop ADRA House" project,” said Robert Georgescu, CEO of ADRA Romania.
Georgescu continued, "The fight against domestic violence is more than just a field of activity, and ADRA House and Creative Workshop ADRA House are more than just projects – is is a place, a "city of escape" in which assisted persons, victims of domestic violence make a stop on their way to a peaceful life after some of them have suffered years of feelings of humiliation, suffering and fear.”.
Paula Dragan, ADRA Romania Project Manager, said the goal of The Creative Workshop is to stimulate creativity and practicial skill building. “We believe that through this workshop we can make the time spent by the beneficiaries in the center more fruitful, transition time on each professional path, until a new job is identified, shorter” said Dragan. “This workshop is also a way of recreation, socialization and reflection, in which we try to help them overcome the difficult moments of loneliness, but also those specific to a new beginning.”
Along with representatives from ADRA were: Mr. Adrian Asoltanie, Financial Education Trainer, Mrs. Adina Bălan, President of Association Solwodi Romania, Mrs. Ruxandra Novotny, Reinsertion Officer Association Workshop without Borders and Mr. Nicolae Şerban, Coordinator of Labor Market Association Workshop without Borders and Mrs. Mihaela Lazea. Each guest presented the perspective on challenges in the recovery centers in terms of professional integration and practical solutions for the professional reintegration of victims of domestic violence.
The project Creative Workshop ADRA House runs from January 15 to December 31, 2017, and targets victims of domestic violence. The worskshop helps vicitms improve their self-esteem and help them overcome the period after leaving an abusive relationship. Also, within the project, counseling is provided until the assisted person has facilitated their integration into the labor market.
Since 2009, ADRA Romania has headed the "Emergency Relief Center for Victims of Domestic Violence - ADRA House". The objective of this project is the social reintegration of victims of domestic violence through the provision of specialized services: shelter, social counseling, psychological counseling, emergency medical assistance, food and guidance to a lawyer. The lives of the beneficiaries housed in the center have been changed because they have known a different way of living: without physical, verbal, economic, psychological, sexual and religious violence, relying on spiritual values and cultivating healthy habits in diet, exercise, training and recreation.