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Soroptimist International of Europe

Soroptimists fight violence against women and girls

3 – Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls

For almost a century now, Soroptimists have been working to eliminate violence against women and girls and ensure women’s participation in conflict resolution.

We conduct projects to respond to, prevent, and eliminate violence against women and girls in 60 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. We do so by building shelters, helping victims of violence, providing counselling services, advocating for improved prevention programs and policies, and raising awareness

Many of our projects in this area are conducted in collaboration with local and national governments, policy makers, and other organisations/institutions working towards the elimination of violence against women through improved prevention and response strategies and programmes.

In 2014, Soroptimist International of Europe also embarked on an organisation-wide project that seeks to bridge the gap between international policy-making and on-the-ground realities in the area of preventing violence against women. Conducted in collaboration with Soroptimist International of the Americas and Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland, the project aims to make a concrete contribution to the development of effective, long-term and cost-effective prevention and response strategies and programs. We invite you to find more about the project by downloading the brochure and to contact us at programme(at)soroptimisteurope.org if you are interested in joining this initiative!

Some recent projects in the area of ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS:

  • Soroptimists across Italy started a partnership with the Italian Ministry of Justice to build special protected courtrooms in which children and women victims of violence can give testimony without having to face the defendant and therefore without having to suffer undue psychological stress. When the project was initiated in 2012, there were only six such courtrooms in Italy. Two years later, there are 56 and 10,000 women and children have already benefitted from them! Many more continue to be built as you read this.
  • Soroptimists across France ran a joint awareness-raising project at the end of 2013 to mark November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. They organised the screening of the movie Wadjda, the first ever film written and directed by a Saudi woman, in 80 cities across France. As a result, they raised EUR 60,000, all of which was donated to organisations fighting violence against women and girls.
  • Soroptimists in Denmark and Romania are collaborating on a project to fight trafficking in human beings. Their goal is to educate people in both countries, but especially Romania which is a source country greatly affected by the trade of women into sexual slavery, about the causes and dangers of human trafficking.
  • A similar joint anti-trafficking initiative is under way by Soroptimists across Norway and Soroptimists in Chisinau, Moldova. Their project targets four boarding schools (age 13-16) in rural Moldova that are especially exposed to trafficking. The goal is to prevent trafficking of young women by providing them with life skills education.
  • Soroptimists across Austria are running a country-wide project dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence. They are advocating for the enforcement of a law protecting children’s rights. The project is run in collaboration with an Austrian organisation called Kinderschutzbund.