VSE welcomes two new associate members

25 Jan, 2018

In December 2017  VSE Executive Board approved two new membership applications. Since then our network counts 50 members and VSE network spreading over 27 different countries.

Our new members are Women`s Room – Center for Sexual Rigths from Croatia and Irish Road Victims Association (IRVA) from Ireland.

Women’s Room – Center for Sexual Rights

The Women’s Room – Center for Sexual Rights is a non-governmental, feminist, non-profit organization established with the aim of empowerment of women and raising awareness of institutions and general public about women’s sexuality and sexual rights through education, research, advocacy and public work. The Women’s Room provides direct and indirect assistance and support to persons who survived sexual violence. The vision of the Women’s Room is a society free from patriarchy, discrimination, misogyny and gender-based violence, where individual choice is the fundamental value.

Women`s Room goals are:
o Elimination of against all forms of sex, gender and sexual discrimination;
o Empowerment of women in exercising their fundamental human rights;
o Prevention of sexual violence against women and sexual and gender minorities;
o Provision of direct help to women who have survived sexual violence;
o Promotion and protection of sexual rights pursuant to the Declaration of Sexual Rights;
o Introduction of comprehensive and inclusive sexual education based on scientific facts, at all education levels;
o Promotion of positive attitudes on female sexuality, sexual health and freedom of choice;
o Elimination of discrimination based on gender expression and/or identity, sexual orientation, and intersexual characteristics;
o Empowerment of LGBTIQ persons in exercising their fundamental human rights.

Organizational goals are fulfilled through 5 activities:
o Center for Victims of Sexual Violence
o Education
o Scholarly research
o Publishing
o Development of public policy against sexual violence through public works, lobbying and networking

Our core activity is Center for Victims of Sexual Violence in which our experts provide direct and indirect support and help for victims of sexual violence. Our team is working with victims through providing: support during the process of reporting sexual violence (accompanying the survivor to the police and hospital); preparations for court proceedings; counselling and therapy: crisis counselling (medical, legal and psychological), trauma-focused therapy, psychological counselling for family or friends of the victim; development of and publishing different materials for victims.

Our other main activity are educations. Women`s Room team is making a great efforts in the implementation of educational programs on the topic of violence against women, sexual violence, trafficking in women for sexual exploitation, sex and gender, sexual rights, women’s sexuality, sexual and gender minorities. Educational programs are implemented through trainings, workshops, lectures, supervision, consultations, seminars, performances, concerts and other public events.

All our activities are focused on mainly women victims of gender-based violence with emphasis on sexual violence, children, youth, representatives of relevant state institutions, representatives of civil society organizations, LGBTIQ population persons, society at large.

Women`s Room launched a web site “Safe Zone” (www.sigurnomjesto.hr/en/) intended for women who are victims of all forms of violence in 2012. This web site have unique search engine with contacts of all relevant institutions (police stations, hospitals, courts, civil society shelters and counselling centers, etc.) for all Croatian regions.

Significant achievements

Women`s Room officially opened in April 2008 the Center for Victims of Sexual Violence. The Center is the only referral center for victims of sexual violence in Croatia and their close persons (family members, friends, partners, etc.). The main objective of the Center for Victims of Sexual Violence is improving the quality of life for survivors of any form of sexual violence. Center continues to to expand its services and improve the quality of work through the years because of providing holistic and feministic approach to survivors and their close persons.

Organization launched the web site “Safe Zone” (www.sigurnomjesto.hr/en/) intended for women who are victims of all forms of violence in 2012. This web site have unique search engine with contacts of all relevant institutions (police stations, hospitals, courts, civil society shelters and counselling centers, etc.) for all Croatian regions.

Women`s Room organized and held the first international conference on sexual violence in Croatia, called “System of Public Policies and Support for Victims of Sexual Violence” , which took place on 23rd of October 2015 in Zagreb in the Croatian Parliament. The conference was organized by Women’s Room – Center for Sexual Rights, as a part of the EU project PROGRESS – My Voice against Violence, in partnership with the Governmental Office for Gender Equality of Croatia and civil society organization CESI (Center for Education, Counseling and Research). The conference is co-organized by the Parliamentary Committee for Gender Equality. The goals of the conference were: raising awareness about the unacceptability of all forms of violence against women and girls; informing relevant governmental bodies and institutions about the problem of insufficient support for victims/survivors of sexual violence in Croatia; improving support-systems for sexual violence victims/survivors through the development and implementation of public policies and necessary services when working with victims/survivors; establishing and strengthening interdepartmental cooperation of all relevant bodies, institutions and civil society organizations providing support to victims and combating sexual violence. Topics of the conference were: the importance of providing help and support to victims/survivors of sexual violence; the role of the Protocol of Conduct in Case of Sexual Violence; examples of good practice in combating sexual violence from European states.

The conference gathered international and national experts like: Liz Kelly (United Kingdom, London Metropolitan University, Head of the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit), Catherine Le Magueresse (France, Sorbonne University), lepa mladjenovic (Serbia, Consultations for Lesbians, Belgrade), Biljana Branković (Serbia, Independent Researcher, consultant, a member of GREVIO – The Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence), Helenca Pirnat Dragičević (Croatia, Ombudswoman for Children), Goran Arbanas (University Psychiatric Hospital Vrapče, Department for Forensic Psychiatry) and so on.

During 2017 Women’s Room started a campaign #ShareResponsibly. The campaign was created with the aim of sensitizing and informing young people about all forms of sexualized violence, electronic and electronic sexualized violence, ways of prevention and about mechanisms of protection and support in case of violence. Campaign is implemented on three social networks (Facebook, YouTube and Instagram). It had and it’s still having a great impact in Croatia on a field of rising awareness about electronic sexualized violence.

Links to campaign:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sherajmoodgovorno/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0R6_7KmVqxCZjzwEtVHEXg
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sherajmoodgovorno/

Women`s Room started in 2013 to organize and implement specialized educations for experts, persons who work with victims of gender-based violence, ie. sexual violence and domestic violence. This specialized educations last for 60 to 80 hours through 3 or 4 modules (one module lasts one or two day). Participants in educations are persons who are coming in contact with victims: expert staff from the police, educational system, judicial system, healthcare system and representatives of civil society organizations. Trainings featured lectures from psychologists, judges from misdemeanour court, county court and court for youth, doctors psychiatrists, social workers, and so on. Women`s Room latest specialized education was organized and held in two Croatian towns in parallel, in Zagreb and Slavonski Brod through four modules. Education named “Specialized training for expert personnel working with victims of sexual violence” finally finished 60 persons from this two towns.

Irish Road Victims Association (IRVA)

The Irish Road Victims Association is a NGO that supports those bereaved or injured by road collisions and campaigns for justice, rights and recognition for Road Crash Victims.

It works with all Stakeholders whose common aim to prevent road deaths and injuries, to improve road crash investigations and to improve support services for Road Victims and bereaved families.

It campaigns for a fairer justice system, with more transparent investigations, prosecutions and Coroner’s inquests. It seeks improved support and recognition for Road Victims together with timely accurate information provided for those affected by road deaths and injuries, without excessive fees being applied.

Irish Road Victims Association – Emotional Support

The Irish Road Victims Association comprises a group of people, many of whom have lost a loved one in a road traffic collision or have been injured themselves, their colleagues, relatives and friends. They are available to speak to bereaved families if they would like to discuss any aspect of their post-crash experience.

Irish Road Victims Association – Practical Support

Information Guides

The IRVA has produced a Guide for the Families of Victims of Road Traffic Collisions. It is available for anybody affected by road traffic collisions, including bereaved families. It outlines the steps involved in the professional Garda investigation of serious injury and fatal collisions, and the subsequent post-mortem, inquest and legal proceedings (where applicable) and offers information and advice to the victim’s family.

The Irish Road Victims’ Association is a member of the European Federation for Road Traffic Victims (FEVR) and is also a member of the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety & Road Victims.

The IRVA is also a signatory to the European Road Safety Charter (ERSC).