Tackling domestic violence outcomes: support services and public policies to reduce gender discrimination
II European Conference on Domestic Violence
For the past two decades, Portuguese governments have implemented a set of policies to tackle domestic violence. Domestic violence victims are at an increased risk of facing poverty and being socially excluded. Often victims search for specialist support services when become more aware of violence or fear for their lives. Shelters provide safe and temporary accommodation for women and children. If necessary, general support services for domestic violence victims should provide “legal and psychological counselling, financial assistance, housing, education, training and assistance in finding employment”. Conjointly, these services may minimize the chances of further victimization and discrimination. The paper presents a research carried out at CIES-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa and sponsored by the European Social Fund (Programa Operacional de Assistência Técnica/QREN/FSE). The research focused the processes of social inclusion of domestic violence victims, namely, the support provided by shelters, as well as the support of local agencies for housing, training and employment. Additionally, a set of public policies regarding domestic violence, social security benefits (housing, unemployment, children) were analyzed. Methodologically, the research encompasses two questionnaires to 36 shelters and their running organizations (32), as well as in-depth interviews to 16 women who underwent a violent relationship and had to live a period of time in a shelter. Research gave a new perspective on the victims’ social inclusion process in a time of economic crisis.
Support network,shelters,education & professional training