Final report from Bulgaria project
Final report from Bulgaria project
The project “Better protection of children against domestic violence and gender- based violence through sharing best practices between Norway and Bulgaria” is finalized. Project activities were aimed at supporting the process towards the elaboration of a national program against domestic violence and gender-based violence and development of services for the protection of women and children victims of violence. The project included several experts from Norway and Bulgaria, and Hedda Foundation will use this opportunity to thank our Norwegian partners: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet, Krisesenteret i Oslo og Alternativ til vold.
In July 2015 the Association „Alliance for protection against genderbased violence” (APGBV) and HEDDA Foundation – Norway started the implementation of the joint project „Better protection of children against domestic violence and gender- based violence through sharing best practices between Norway and Bulgaria”. The project, implemented within 12 months, has been financed by the Fund for bilateral relations at national level on the EEA financial mechanism and NFM 2009-2014 (Grant Contract ‹ BG 01-007/06.07.2015 concluded with the „Monitoring of EU funds” Department to the Administration of the Council of Ministers). Among the main objectives of the project are: capacity building and sustainable bilateral partnership between institutions and organizations from Bulgaria and Norway in the field of prevention and protection from child abuse and gender-based violence. The project enabled the realization of a survey among NGOs in the country and among Bulgarian institutions at local and central level in the field of prevention and protection from violence, and the identification of effective models and problem areas in the
implementation of legislation in this area. The initiative was essential particularly for experts from different Bulgarian institutions and organizations who had the opportunity to learn about best practices from Norway and to establish sustainable partnerships and cooperation. The project gave an opportunity to increase knowledge and capacity in the area of protection from domestic violence and create good conditions for future actions aimed at changing attitudes towards domestic violence and gender-based violence in the society as a whole. Project activities were aimed at supporting the process towards the elaboration of a national program against domestic violence and gender – based violence and development of services for the protection of women and children victims of violence.
Other objectives of the project:
_To increase awareness of domestic violence and gender-based violence;
_To increase knowledge among representatives of the Bulgarian institutions and NGOs on violence against children, domestic violence and gender-based violence through the exchange of best practices with Norway;
_ Implementation in practice and development of effective cooperation between Bulgaria and Norway to exchange good practices on implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Specific project objectives:
_ Identification of problems encountered by NGOs in their work in providing services to women and children victims of violence;
_ Establishment of a Joint Plan/Recommendations by the partners for better prevention and protection of women and children, victims of domestic and gender-based violence.
During the project a study of the Bulgarian legislation and practice in the field of protection and prevention of domestic violence and genderbased violence was realized. The study includes empirical research, and its results are an integral part of this report. The survey results were among the leading topics during the international conference held in the period 25-27 May 2016 at the residence of Her Excellency Hon. Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Bulgaria. Participants in the conference were representatives of institutions at central and local level and NGOs from Bulgaria and experts from Norway. The conference provided an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience through the presentation of various service models, policies and legislation; introduction to the Norwegian legislation and practice in this area, showing the patterns of interaction of the institutions and NGOs in Norway. During the conference, participants discussed their experiences, results, key issues and challenges, shared ideas on how to build an effective model for prevention and protection from domestic violence and gender-based violence.
The study – preparation and conduction of the empirical research and initial data processing, was implemented by Mrs. Iliana Stoycheva, project manager from APGBV; Mr. Jorgen Lorentzen, expert from the partner HEDDA Foundation; Mrs Hristina Georgieva – expert from APGBV and Chairman of the Association „Ekaterina Karavelova” – Silistra, organization member of APGBV. Updates on the empirical research, the additional processing and final report as a whole are the result of the work of all members of the Alliance, the Chair of APGBV Mrs. Genoveva Tisheva, as well as experts from the team of another member of APGBV – the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, the contribution of other experts, consultants and volunteers.
Key findings and recommendations
The conclusions and recommendations made at the end of the project are the result of the study and recommendations prepared during the international conference. They are aimed at:
_ Increasing the responsibility of the State through the creation of an inter-departmental group at ministerial level to coordinate activities against domestic violence, through implementing changes in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Bulgaria and raising the competence of the police in cases of domestic violence
_ Better protection of victims of violence through providing effective support for crisis centers and centers providing services and by improving the competence of the experts in these centers
_ Development of programs and work with perpetrators of violence through the establishment of centers for offenders and providing training of psychologists working in this area
_ Effective and continuous action aimed at preventing and raising awareness of domestic violence issues through the implementation of national campaigns against violence against women and children and national research on domestic violence.