International Training Course
“Educate and Empower: social work against domestic violence”
Domestic violence (“DV”) and intimate partner violence (“IPV”) are a widespread phenomenon throughout the world, whereby one in three women has experienced some form of physical and/or sexual abuse by an intimate partner (WHO, 2017). Shifts in cultural norms in countries like Bulgaria, Serbia, Italy and others have somewhat decreased the social acceptability of domestic violence and femicide, and have given the issue more visibility. Nevertheless, domestic violence remains a pervasive human rights issue with major public health effects that is largely not adequately addressed through national and international policy and prevention strategies.
Whereas some factors which lead to marginalization are more obvious (e.g. sexual orientation, refugee status, low income, unemployment, etc.), victims and survivors of DV are often invisible. Social reactions to people affected by domestic violence such as stigmatization, shaming and blaming the victim silence victims and survivors, and prevent them from seeking help and/or support.
The lack of visibility of DV victims and survivors has both individual and social consequences. At the individual level, experiencing DV and keeping it a secret is associated with many long-term ramifications including mental health issues, addiction and substance abuse, low self-esteem, parenthood challenges, higher suicide incidence and more. Furthermore, social exclusion and invisibility of DV victims create the conditions for women and youth affected by DV to remain in long-term abusive relationships. At the social level, the described issues represent a significant cost to communities and taxpayers, as DV affects the physical and mental health, as well as the employability and productivity of victims. In addition, whereas human rights law provides the framework to prevent, reduce and combat violence, social exclusion and invisibility of DV victims slow down the development of societies, and prevent the reduction and eradication of discrimination, as well as the adequate adherence to the rule of law.
As youth workers we meet and work with young people from very different backgrounds. Whether we aim to support their social, emotional, academic or physical development, we need to be capable of recognizing the issues they are dealing with, and offer informed support. Domestic violence, and gender-based violence more broadly, have only recently entered the public discourse in Bulgaria with more frequency. They have largely been taboo topics in most patriarchal and traditional societies such as the ones in Southeastern Europe and the MENA region. The absence of supportive public response for DV victims and survivors, as well as the insufficient understanding of their needs, has led to a lack of preparation and training of teachers and youth workers to work with young people affected by DV.
Our training course aims to support the professional development of youth workers by enhancing their understanding of DV and equipping them with a range of tools to recognize youth affected by DV, as well as to offer informed support, and guide said youth on a path of healing and social inclusion. Additionally, the TC will build youth workers’ skills to manage stress and difficult emotions which arise from working with victims and survivors of violence, in order to minimize the risk for burnout, and ensure sustainable professional development.
The main objectives of the training course are:
▲ to equip youth workers with awareness and tools to recognize victims and survivors of domestic violence among the populations they work with
▲ to utilize a diverse range of tools to offer support, assess and reduce danger
▲ to develop the knowledge and skills of youth workers to guide affected individuals towards healing and social inclusion
▲ to ensure the sustainable professional development of youth workers by developing youth workers’ skills in relation to emotional management and self care.
Through preparing youth workers to better address the needs of the youth populations they work with, and do so in ways that are responsible, thoughtful and do not put at risk neither the young people, nor themselves, our training course will contribute to the capacity building for quality youth work of their respective organisations.
What will the training course participants learn and experience?
The training program is organized under 4 themes:
Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence
▲ learning the main concepts related to DV and IPV, the forms they take and the individual and social factors that contribute to them
▲ understanding the wheel of power and control, and its relation to abuse, gender inequality and partner dominance
▲ critically examining the prevalence of DV and IPV in their countries and communities, and devising thoughtful and actionable recommendations
▲reflecting on the importance of self care and burnout prevention
▲ enriching knowledge of and experience with diverse self care techniques and practices
▲ learning to seek help when needed , and to avoid “one-can-do-all” mentality
▲understanding the obstacles that young adults face in seeking help for domestic or dating abuse, and brainstorming ways to overcome barriers to seeking help
▲practicing techniques such as deep listening, asking probing questions, using non-threatening and non-judgmental language, etc.
Organizational & Professional Development
▲developing organizational protocols for dealing with violence-affected youth
▲learning about the legal aspects of working with violence-affected youth
▲ recognizing violence-affected youth, and utilizing danger assessment tools
▲making referrals to other suitable resources in the community and planning safety measures with violence-affected youth, as well as ensuring own safety
30th May – 6th June,
SolidarityWorks Center for Learning, Sharing, and Cultural Exchange
If you are interested in joining the project and are a resident of one of the following countries, don’t hesitate to e-mail us or our partners for more information.