Social protection, care and reintegration for victims of gender based violence

  • Funded by the European Union

Ipso has started a new project aiming at reducing violence against women in Afghan families. The action is a contribution to the efforts of government and NGOs to bridge the gap between the legal and constitutional basis of declared rights for woman and the everyday reality of women being exposed to violence within families suffering from a high level of on-going daily stress, traumatic experiences and restrictive traditional behavior. Shelters then offer a secure environment for women in need. For the security of women, Shelters are more or less accepted as a temporary solution.

DSC00646_10Case workers working in the Shelters are very engaged but often lack the professional background to assist the women and the families to facilitate a sustainable process of reintegration for the women back into their families. Many women are unable to return to their homes and families. They are afraid that the violence will start again: Conflicts which caused them to leave are still unsolved. They also do not have another place to go that would be socially accepted by Afghan society. As a result, Shelters have become a place, from an intended temporary solution, becoming a refuge where women might stay for months or years without perspectives to solve the problem with their families or to be reintegrated into their families.
Therefore, our project follows an integrated approach improving the perspectives of conflict solution and overall awareness about violence against women within the families through mediation and counselling and as a societal problem and equally improving the physical and psychological wellbeing of women living in Shelters at the same time.

Building on our expertise in the field of mental health, we train 56 psychosocial counsellors and 48 case workers to improve the quality of care for women in residential care (16 Shelters) within 14 provinces of Afghanistan ( Kabul, Parwan, Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Badakhshan, Herat, Badghis, Bamyan, Jozjan, Nangahar, Faryab, Kapisa, Ghor). The Shelters will then be able to provide professional standards of psychosocial care including trauma treatment and conflict resolution. Moreover the action intents to improve the perspectives for women’s safe reintegration into their families and social life within their community by  installing a first and continuous mediation by the trained Counsellors (male and female) between the women seeking shelter and their families. Additionatly, an online counselling/telephone service will be established for woman in need.

The women and their families will play an active role in the participatory process of the counselling which is based on their values. The counselling approach aims at enabling the women first to understand their situation fully, then to be able to influence their lives, to regain or develop social and cultural resources and increase their capacity of solving conflicts. The mediation and counselling process with the families will involve all family members actively. The counselling process is resource and solution orientated and builds up skills to relate better to each other within the families.

As a second intention, the project gives institutional support to the respective Afghan ministries and authorities in charge of social protection of women. The action aims at helping the Ministry of Women Affairs to take over ownership of the Shelter and to establish quality standards for service and care in the Shelters all over the country.