CHISINAU, 3 July 2012 – Running shelters for women survivors of domestic violence is the focus of a two-day workshop which started today in Chisinau, organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova and the Austrian Embassy in Chisinau.
The event brings together Austrian experts and some 40 representatives from the Moldovan Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family and the Interior Ministry, including police, the Ministries of Health, Education and Finance, as well as women’s shelters and civil society, including non-governmental organizations from both sides of the Dniestr/Nistru River.
“Women who have become victims of physical, psychological, sexual and economic violence need a place to go to,” said Diana Doros, Deputy Head of the Department on Gender Equality and Prevention of Violence at the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family. “They need free-of-charge assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, easy access to shelters and no time limit for stay, both for them and their children. Learning from Austria’s experience can help Moldovan women’s shelters provide best possible support.”
“Empowering survivors is key to helping them re-build their lives with dignity,” said Eugenia Benigni, Anti-Trafficking and Gender Officer at the OSCE Mission to Moldova. “We hope that both sides of the Dniestr/Nistru River will step up their efforts to fund shelters and services for women.”
Maria Rösslhumer, the Director of the Austrian Women’s Shelters Network, describing the approach of her organization, said: “Our shelters in Austria are unique contact points for women that are threatened by violence. They are not just about providing a roof over the head and a safe place to stay. We are open for all women – women without documents, migrant women, minority women, disabled women, elderly women. We offer them and their children all-embracing support that helps them overcome their trauma, end the violence and regain self-esteem.”
Today’s workshop is the first of a series that will also look into men’s counselling services and their interaction with women’s shelters and entities that deal with perpetrators.