Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE- EFI organized a training workshop “Provision of psychosocial support and legal counselling” from the 15th of July to the 19th of July 2018 in Beirut . This event was organized in the framework of the program “Towards sustainable peace and democracy in Syria through strengthening civil society and women’s rights” funded by SIDA. The training provided the Syrian activists and service providers whether inside Syria or in neighboring countries with knowledge, recommendations, best practices, experiences and lessons learned from different countries. The training aimed at improving the intervention in combating violence against women and provided adequate psychosocial and legal support to women survivors of violence especially during conflict. It highlighted the importance of providing the support using a feminist approach that ensures justice and equality. Which will help the Syrian activists and service providers to develop their discourse and build their knowledge and experience to provide better services and create a public opinion criminalizing VAW.
During the first day of the training, Ms. Arwa Abou Zaid, Clinical Psychologist, Tunisia opened the first session of the training by tackling the contexts and types of violence against women and children and gave examples of the comprehensive law to combat VAW in Tunisia. She discussed the psychological and social impact of violence on victims and explained in details how to develop an action plan. She also discussed the psychology of service providers and the psychosocial support process.
In the second day, Eva Abou Hlaweh, Executive Director of Mizan Law Group, Jordan discussed the concept of legal aid and highlighted the importance of services provided by women's rights and human rights organizations. She explained in details how to design legal aid programs, the participants were divided into four different groups to draft an outline for a legal aid program, concerning various self-selected topics e.g. underage marriage, affiliations proceedings, etc. Thereafter, she discussed the strategic litigation and the use of international human rights conventions before the courts and presented a case study.
In the third day, Dr. Maja Mamoula, doctor in psychology, who works with women survivors of sexual violence in Croatia talked about the forms, statistics, trauma- symptoms, phases and treatment of sexual violence and shared experiences from direct work of NGOs in Croatia. She also talked about the provision of services for survivors of sexual violence from feminist and human rights perspectives and discussed the role of the community in dentifying and recognizing sexual violence. She also disussed other issues such as counselling, psychotherapy, J. L. Herman’s model of therapy and the importance of providing support in the process of reporting and criminal prosecution.
In the fourth day of the training, Ms. Fatima Maghnaoui, a feminist legal activist from Morocco, talked about the management of shelters for survivors of violence in terms of the establishment context, shelter concept, analysis of the experience, partners, achievements, challenges and difficulties and shared the experience of Union of Women's Action (UFA ) as an example. She also talked about the best practices to enhance the shelter roles in protecting women subjected to VAW and highlighted the important role of civil society, state and local community. Thereafter, participants were divided into two groups to work on the state role in establishing shelters for survivors of domestic violence; each group shared its opinion on the ideal tools of establishing shelters.
In the fifth and last day of the training, Ms.Bothayna Sa'ad, Association Najdeh presented the experience of Najdeh in working with Palestanian Refugees women. She discussed the link between advocacy and provision of services. Ms. Hayat Mirshad, Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering (RDFL), shared stats on the status of women's rights in Lebanon and discussed the most prominent executive laws. Furthermore, she presented the work and advocacy programs and campaigns by RDFL such as (Not Before 18) advocay campaign to protect children from early marriage.
Ms. Hayat Mirshed, RDFL Ms.Bothayna Sa'ad, Association Najdeh