The „Domestic Violence/Public Issue” project was launched on September 1, 2014 and its completion is scheduled for April 30, 2016. It focuses primarily on providing comprehensive services for the whole family affected by domestic violence. The project aims to extend the help already being provided by adding a complex therapeutic program that consists of services for people at risk, for children growing up in families with a domestic violence problem, and people with violent tendencies that affect their relationships. The project also includes streetwork and setting up of new contact points across the South Moravia region.
The main benefit of the project should be a better accessibility of legal aid for people unable to afford the expenses that come with civil or criminal proceedings stemming from domestic violence cases. We see this combination of social and legal services as a way to make the current practice of care for people at risk of domestic violence all the more effective.
The project is being implemented in cooperation with two main partners from the Czech Republic and Norway: the Brno City Municipality, an institution which mainly helps us by raising public awareness of the campaign, and the Oslo Krisesenter.
One of the project’s chief objectives is to enhance the prevention of domestic violence, reduce the gravity of its consequences, and to raise awareness of the issue among youth and students. For this purpose, we created a PC game that deals with the topic of domestic violence and is designed to be used by students at school. The game comes with a manual for teachers and other workers in the education sector, and its launch will be accompanied by a substantial information campaign aimed at professional educators as well as youth and students.
Since this is the first time in the Czech Republic that preventing and raising awareness of domestic violence has taken the form of a computer game and a teacher’s edition textbook, it represents an innovative way of combatting the problem. By addressing the target group through this medium, we make use of its typical interests and preferred means of communication.
Primary objectives of the project:
- Implementation of an optimal network of therapists and social workers for all people involved in domestic violence in selected parts of South Moravia
- Collaboration between Spondea and a Brno-based attorney’s office on domestic violence cases
- Significant emphasis on the streetworking nature of therapeutic and consulting services in South Moravia, particularly in newly covered places such as the Hodonín, Znojmo and Břeclav regions
Integration of the topic of domestic violence into the curriculum in elementary schools all over the country. We will also launch an online game designed to educate children on the topic and offer practical advice on how to deal with the problem should they encounter it.
- We decided to approach our Norwegian partner, the Oslo Krisesenter, primarily because of its expertise in working with children who witness, or are victims of, domestic violence. Apart from these services, Oslo Krisesenter also provides help to women and men affected by domestic violence, runs an adult day care center and a shelter home. For the last five years, the organization has been specializing in providing care for child victims of domestic violence. Through both individual and group activities, the children are presented with a playful image of a normal life without domestic violence. These activities aim to prevent the spreading or transgenerational continuation of violence in their own future families. As part of the “Domestic Violence/Public Issue” project, the Oslo Krisesenter helps us raise awareness of the problem of domestic violence, particularly among children and teenagers. We plan to make use of our Norwegian colleagues’ experience with the subject and follow their practices where they might be applicable to Czech circumstances.
Since 2005, the Czech partner of our project, the Brno City Municipality, has been one of the cities that use an interdisciplinary approach towards domestic violence. The city currently has a strong interdisciplinary network of professionals offering services to victims of domestic violence, and is contributing to our project by taking part in a preventive program targeted at elementary schools’ pupils. The program entitles the development of an online and offline flash game accompanied by a teachers’ manual, both of which can be used in classes of any elementary school in the Czech Republic. Part of the City’s involvement in the project consists of a promotional campaign targeted at children, collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, and a campaign aimed at educational institutions and leisure organisations. Through this holistic approach, we strive to inform children and raise their awareness of the topic of domestic violence in an accessible way that feels natural to kids of a young age. The style of the flash game will allow children to change individual stories by using “enchanted” objects, something they cannot do in real life. The storyline will however eventually reveal that there are real-life ways to solve this problem for every person involved. The project is also being backed by the Open Society Fund Prague under the Let’s Give (Wo)men a Chance programme, which is financed from the Norway Grants. Through the Norway Grants, Norway is helping to reduce social and economic disparities and strengthen the cooperation in Europe. The Let’s Give (Wo)men a Chance programme promotes equal opportunities for women and men both in workplace and outside of it, and it also serves to support the prevention of domestic violence and provide help to the victims. The programme is run by the Open Society Fund Prague, an organization that has been advancing the values of an open society and democracy in the Czech Republic since 1992 (http://www.dejmezenamsanci.cz/o-programu/dejme-ze-nam-sanci-a-norske-fondy/)