Juliana Abramova and her colleagues of the Center Resonance Team.
Photo: Daniela Vidaicu
Preventing domestic violence in the Transnistrian region of Moldova
A law to prohibit domestic violence does not exist in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova. The de facto authorities do not consider domestic violence a crime as the de facto legislation does not provide any legal definition for this phenomenon. However, since 2013, Sida is supporting a local NGO, Center Resonance, to assist victims and help them to get out of a cycle of violence and receive rehabilitation.
Domestic violence is widespread in the Republic of Moldova including in its Transnistrian breakaway region, located in a strip between the Nistru River and the Eastern Moldovan border with Ukraine.
– It is not a problem of one single family, it is a public problem and the public authorities should react on it, said Juliana Abramova, the Executive Director of Center Resonance.
The Hammarberg Report on Human Rights in the Transnistrian region was issued in 2013. In the same year the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova expressed before the United Nations General Assembly the intention of the country to implement the recommendations. In November 2014 de facto authorities approved an Action Plan to implement the Hammarberg Report. One of the nine priorities underlined by the Action Plan is combating domestic violence. This is the first time the de facto authorities publicly stated that the problem should be addressed.
– We are proud to manage to open in 2015 a first-ever shelter for victims in the Transnistrian region. This became possible after 5 years of hard advocacy work at the regional and international levels. In 2015, 92 women and children applied for the shelter’s services with an emergent request to have a safe house, Juliana Abramova explains.
CSOs from the Transnistrian region are the only stakeholders able to provide professional assistance and support to the victims. The CSOs have created a united coalition to share their experience in working with victims. The coalition is also a tool to spread a consolidated message against domestic violence into the society that is influenced by religious orthodox leaders, who previously expressed their disagreement with the decision of de facto authorities to approve the law on domestic violence.
– It is important to conduct consistent work when we talk about domestic violence. This means preventive public awareness campaigns, systematic education for service providers (social assistants, police staff, psychologists, etc.) and direct assistance to women victims of domestic violence. Only with a joint approach toward the key target groups are we slowly moving to a situation where the problem of domestic violence comes out to a public debate, Juliana Abramova admits.
A Free Informational Line was supported by Resonanceand about 300 calls have been registered since 2013. A media campaign started and six journalist investigations on domestic violence were published. For the first time the anti-domestic violence and gender oriented CSOs became members of the international association Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) and increased their capacities to advocate in this field. As a result, the number of women applying for professional services provided by CSOs increased with 35%.
Representatives of the de facto authorities, journalists, social workers, psychologists, partners of Resonance and beneficiaries attended a closing event of the project and shared their impressions after three years of common activities and achievements. Victims of domestic violence emphasized that Center Resonance provided life-saving support to all of them during the project period.
Irina, one of the Center Resonance beneficiaries took the floor and shared her story. She and her children were brutally beaten by her husband during several years. She felt lost and alone and without documents, a job, and relatives who could support her it was impossible to leave the perpetrator and to start a new life.
– I would like to thank our psychologist, said Irina with shaking voice and tears in her eyes. She helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to restore my life, to become a better mother for my children. Resonance saved my live.