07 April 2014

National toll-free hotline for victims of domestic violence 8-801-100-8-801 is an entry point into support system for those suffering from family abuse. Hotline operates in 7/12 format and provides anonymous unconditional and immediate social, psychological and legal assistance as well as referring those affected to other specialized state and non-state institutions all over Belarus.

hotlineSince the launch of its operation the hotline responded to almost 4 200 calls. In most cases the calls are conducted by those who experience domestic violence (84%). 16 % of calls are made by the victims' relatives and acquaintances. General profile of domestic violence survivors describes a woman (95 %) of 27-40 y.o. (33%), married (56%) or in the process of divorce (10 %), residing in Minsk ( 36%), and having one or two children. The increase of calls from women over 60 y.o. has been observed, currently consisting of 19 %. 70 % of those who suffered from domestic violence noted that they had undergone physical abuses, 50% - economical, 97% - psychological, 5% - sexual. But most of the victims suffered from several types of violence simultaneously.

The analysis of hotline's requests shows that in 87% men appear to be aggressors, i.e. those who commit violence. Mainly the male aggressor is a spouse (45%) or former spouse (14%). 59 % of aggressors are alcohol addicts; about 4 % of aggressors have other forms of addiction. However the fact of having any type of addiction is not a crucial element that influences the behavior of an aggressor and justify it: 75% of all domestic violence cases took place regardless of the aggressor's addictions and conditions.

Special concern is to be paid at the fact that in 42% of all thematic calls children also suffer from violence within families, experiencing direct abuse or witnessing it. 22% of children are physically abused. But only 3% of hotline clients approached relevant authorities in this regard. The reasons for not reporting child abuse are lack of information how and where assistance can be obtained, as well as fears that making such case public would aggravate the situation in family.

For those clients who are in need of long-term support and counselling the referral mechanism is in place – the police and law-enforcement, social providers and shelters, health clinics, child protections organisations, faith-based organisations, etc. The referral is tailored to clients’ needs and ensured by contacts directory run by hotline staff. Twenty victims of domestic violence have benefited from direct services of “Gender Perspectives, where social staff of the organisation acted as case-managers.

The national hotline for the victims of domestic violence 8-801-100-8-801 was opened on August 13th, 2012 as the service by IPA “Gender Perspectives with the support of UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, UNFPA, UNICEF and IOM in the frames of the international technical assistance project “Developing national capacity to counteract domestic violence in the Republic of Belarus.

The hotline functions from 8:00 A.M to 8:00 P.M everyday without breakouts. Lawyer consults two days a week. Calls from landline phones are free-of-charge for clients. Calls from mobile provider (VELCOM) are possible, local charges apply.