News

15 May 2020

WAVE Policy Statement on COVID-19 and Violence against Women and Girls

WAVE Network report that since the outbreak of COVID-19, reports of violence against women, and particularly domestic violence, have increased dramatically in several countries. The crisis has a disproportionate impact on women that are particularly vulnerable to the negative social and economic impact of the crisis, including women of colour, migrant and refugee women, Roma women, and LGBTQ+ persons, as well as women of poor and working-class background.

09 April 2020

Antonio Guterres: "Put women and girls at the centre of efforts to recover from COVID-19"

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launches new report spotlighting the effects of the COVID19 pandemic on women and girls. The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, everywhere. But it affects different groups of people differently, deepening existing inequalities. Early data indicates that the mortality rates from COVID-19 may be higher for men. But the pandemic is having devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls.

31 March 2020

La Strada International Statement on Coronavirus: The impact of COVID-19 on the protection of rights of trafficked and exploited persons

The current Corona Virus (COVID-19) crisis is affecting all our countries and societies with most European States taking restrictive measures to prevent the wide spreading of COVID-19 and mitigate the health risks for the population. While this affects everybody, the new situation has a particularly negative impact on marginalized communities, including thousands of migrants that work in Europe in low paid and exploitative jobs, supporting European countries to plug their labour shortfalls.

20 January 2020

International Project on Improving the Quality of Life for Men and Young People Launches in Belarus

Gender issues first came to prominence when looking for ways to protect women’s rights and ensure legal and de-facto equality between women and men. Modern Belarusian society dictates that both women and men should adhere to rigid gender roles and their lives are limited by existing stereotypes.

28 November 2019

National Domestic Violence Hotline Launches a New Service

The national domestic violence hotline 8-801-100-8-801 launches a new service - a chat bot for survivors of domestic violence and possible witnesses of abuse. The service is an option to receive vital information on access to mental health, legal and social services.

25 November 2019

National Domestic Violence Hotline Office Hosts Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs

On November 25, 2019 the Office of the International Public Association “Gender Perspectives”, which is home to the national domestic violence hotline 8-801-100-8-801, hosted the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ms. Ann Linde. 

Gender-based violence

situation at glance

Domestic violence is a type of violence, a problem that exists in all countries of the world. Domestic violence can be defined as a cycle of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and economic abuse repeated in relation to one’s relatives with the goal of intimidation, control, and fear. One of the main features of domestic violence is that it is a recurring incident of various types of violence (physical, psychological, sexual and economic). Such incidents are an important indicator that distinguishes “domestic violence” from “conflict”. Violence is systematic. 

The second important feature of domestic violence, aggravating psychological trauma, is that the offender and the victim are close people. Unlike a crime committed by a stranger, domestic violence comes from a (former) spouse or partner, parents, children, other relatives, the groom, etc.

The problem of violence is defined in the current legislation of Belarus as a general problem without taking into account the specifics of domestic violence.

Results and impact

The national domestic violence hotline 8-801-100-8-801 run by the International public association (IPA) Gender Perspectives has so far received 13 874 calls (as of April 1, 2020).

The much demanded service began its work on August 13, 2012. Today the hotline provides mental health counseling, legal counsel, social and informational support via telephone every day from 8 am to 8 pm.

The hotline serves mostly domestic violence survivors (80%), as well as their relatives and friends (18%). The victims are predominantly female (94%) and 6% are men (mostly elderly who are abused by their adult children).

Domestic violence perpetrators are male in 88% of cases according to the hotline data. The major percentage of domestic violence survivors fall between the age of 27 to 40 years old - 42%, are married or in a relationship (48%), have either 1 or 2 children (81%) and experience abuse from their spouse (50%), an intimate partner (6%) or a former spouse (15%).

20% of domestic violence survivors are people aged 60 and older. The domestic violence hotline data shows that most elderly callers experience abuse from their adult sons (13% of perpetrators in accumulated data relates to adult sons) and their daughters (4%).

38% of the calls to the hotline come from Minsk, 13% - from the Minsk region. Most often the callers report emotional abuse - 93%, physical - 65%, financial - 40% and sexual - 4%. It is worth noting that in 36% of the reported cases minor children also experience abuse.

Almost 30% of domestic violence perpetrators, according to the callers’ testimonies, have had administrative measures taken against them by the militia. However, these measures have had no restrictive effect on their behaviour, and they continued to abuse, while their victims as a result of such abuse had to seek assistance elsewhere, including various service-providing agencies.

33% of domestic violence hotline callers received legal counsel, 58% - emotional support. Social and informational counseling was provided to 91% of all callers, and 71% of clients were referred to the state and non-government stakeholders for direct services provided in domestic abuse situations.

In November 2019 the IPA Gender Perspectives website www.genderperspectives.by and the messenger Telegram opened access to a chatbot, a new service for domestic violence survivors, witnesses of this crime and the professionals working on domestic violence prevention, which allows to receive vital information concerning mental health counseling, legal counsel, and social support. It is called “Help for domestic violence survivors” (@HelpHotlineBot). The chatbot contains the addresses and telephone numbers for organizations working in the field of domestic violence prevention in Belarus, timely provides information on options for seeking various kinds of assistance, including emergency contacts, searches for a shelter or a crisis center. 3 537 people have used chatbot since it was launched on November 29, 2019 (as of April 1, 2020).

IPA Gender Perspectives effectively cooperates with other stakeholders to address the problem of domestic violence including the Ministry of Interior, Health, and Education, as well as various nonprofits and religious organizations. It regularly works with mass media. There were more than 1356 articles featuring Gender Perspectives employees discussing the issues of domestic violence published by the mass media outlets in the period from August 13, 2012 to December 31, 2019.

What we do

The International public association (IPA) Gender Perspectives provides assistance to domestic violence survivors, both women and men, trains professionals in state, non profit and international organizations, advocates for the adoption of a targeted domestic violence prevention legislation in Belarus as well as improving the existing legislation, and shapes the public opinion on these issues by engaging in robust cooperation with mass media outlets.

Our organization runs the national domestic violence hotline 8 801 100 8 801 launched on August 13, 2012. People calling the hotline have access to free mental health support, legal counsel and social assistance confidentially and anonymously from 8 am to 8 pm. The national domestic violence hotline in Belarus has so far received 13,8 thousands calls (by April 1, 2020).

In November 2019 the IPA Gender Perspectives website www.genderperspectives.by and the messenger Telegram opened access to a chatbot, a new service for domestic violence survivors and witnesses of this crime, which allows to receive vital information concerning mental health counseling, legal counsel, and social support. It is called “Help for domestic violence survivors” (@HelpHotlineBot). The chatbot contains the addresses and telephone numbers for organizations working in the field of domestic violence prevention in Belarus, timely provides information on options for seeking multiple kinds of assistance, including emergency contacts, searches for a shelter or a crisis center. The service is also intended for professional use by the specialists working in domestic violence prevention.

Our other major area of work lies in the field of thematic educational activities and training of professionals working in prevention and direct service providers for domestic violence survivors. These include mental health and social workers, as well as other professionals employed in the social protection system, law enforcement, education and health industries, prosecutor’s office, court system and other stakeholders.

IPA Gender Perspectives is an active partner in the work to further develop the national domestic violence legislation. Based on multiple years of relevant hands-on experience, our organization has prepared recommendations “What Should Domestic Violence Legislation in Belarus Include.” Together and in cooperation with other partner women’s rights organizations we drafted basic principles, which must become part of the legislation developed.

Our representatives became part of the working group organized by the Ministry of Interior in Belarus to improve and further develop the national domestic violence legislation bringing it in compliance with the international requirements and standards.

IPA Gender Perspectives works closely with the media to highlight the domestic violence urgency in the Belarusian society, expose its root causes, dire social consequences, as well as to inform about the options to seek assistance for domestic violence survivors. We develop and publish multiple informational and educational materials, including leaflets, brochures, manuals, catalogues, as well as video aids.

Our organization has been an active member and a representative of the European WAVE “Women Against Violence Europe” network. We rigorously study the international best practices and share our own experiences, contribute to annual network report drafting and take part in annual network conferences.

Since 2020 we have also joined the MenEngage Europe Alliance to build more capacity and knowledge around the work on engaging men and boys for gender equality.