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Gender Equality and men in the Russian Federation

The project was a pilot, supporting planning and implementation of a programme on Gender Equality and Masculinity, Involved Men, Decreased Domestic Violence, Equal Opportunities Ensured in the Innovative Public Management in the Russian Federation. The project dealt with fighting domestic violence, care and support to the victims, worked with the perpetrator, changed the social role of men and fathers. Work involved White Ribbon campaigns, establishment of information and communication strategy, trainings and development of models that were disseminated in the country. It was overall based on a rights-based approach, promoting gender equality and conflict-sensitivity.

The main activities of the project were organised around four components:

1. Coordination among institutions:             

  • Within the framework of this component research on violence has been ordered and carried out by the Social University, which was used to develop arguments and facts about violence for the two campaigns.
  • Police authorities, the Prosecutors office, Health department, Education department, Department of Internal Affairs and Department of Labour and Social Affairs regularly meet together with experts and NGOs to discuss and decide upon measures to be taken in order to decrease the domestic violence in the Oblast.
  • The Head of the Department of Labour and Social Affairs regularly reports to the Governor of Vologda Oblast.
  • Those activities have resulted in significantly increased interest in the issue within the top administration of the Oblast and, thus, raised support from all authorities in Vologda.

2. Information and communication:

  • Work has been focused on a data-base and included supportive work to other departments and NGOs
  • All municipalities are connected to the data-base as well as police and education departments
  • All involved have been trained and formed on how to use the data-base and the facts presented in it, including integrity and secrecy regulations.
  • Seminars for NGOs and municipal staff on domestic violence, training for social workers on the issue have been arranged and have initiated and started a network called “Teenager” in cooperation with the police in order to find and support vulnerable youngsters.
  • By creating an atmosphere of trust the group has managed to establish close links to those authorities, which are supposed to provide the data, and thus been able to build up and maintain the data base.
  • The Component working group has been substantially involved in the White Ribbon Campaigns (Component 4.)
  • During the campaigns groups of volunteers -“Non-violence ambassadors”- were established (pupils, students of Vologda Teachers Training University). They distributed white ribbons, information materials among passers-by and drivers. At the same time they told them about the campaign.
  • In municipalities clear books “I’m against violence” were done.
  • Special meetings for students of 5-9 years of age were arranged, devoted to violence issues.

3. Help for victims, aggressors, men:

  • Achieved the following results: Trustworthy and reliable help for victims, aggressors, men:
  • A group of employees from Department of Internal Affairs dealing with psychological rehabilitation of male aggressors was established. Consists of psychologists from the department of internal affairs. The objective is to widen the field of responsibility so the psychologists can include work with aggressors.
  • Psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers have been trained in two seminars, all together six working days, on the therapeutic/educational method IDAP (Integrated Domestic Abuse Program)
  • The participants are now authorized to work as facilitators and treat domestic abusers according to the IDAP method, an evaluated method used by the Swedish probation system to treat convicted domestic abusers.
  • Study visit to Sweden on Swedish law protection has been organised in order to learn about effective methods of  Work. The group was inter alia informed on:
  • Swedish Prosecution system, laws regarding rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Different development projects on domestic violence
  • The prison system and prisons for sexual abusers
  • Seminar on  ROS, a rehabilitation method for sex offenders and IDAP, a rehabilitation method for men sentenced for  domestic violence
  • Information on the Swedish System of Courts and criminal cases related to domestic violence
  • Seminars for police and social authorities on behavioral change have been conducted
  • youngsters has started at the beginning of 2008.
  • Capacity and competence building for medical and social workers
  • Issues of domestic violence are included in all seminars conducted by the Department of Social and Labour Affairs directed to the municipalities.
  • Training of representatives of institutions and volunteers, including study visit to Sweden  
  • Support to the pilot Crisis Centre for victims including a test confidential telephone line      
  • A Crisis Centre for Women opened in Cherepovets in 2006. The social authorities in Cherepovets cooperate with the law protecting organisations. One obvious result is the decline of family crimes due to the preventive programs run by the social officers  and the police

4. Mass-media

  • The present component was mainly focussing on White Ribbon campaigns and information related to the issues of domestic violence and masculinity.
  • During the period of August 2007-April 2008 two large campaigns have been conducted in Vologda, the first campaign connected to the start of the school year, the second campaign was launched on the International Women’s Day.
  • The two campaigns engaged a very large number of participants
  • Campaigns resulted in additional, indirect effects, like police in Vologda, doing additional trainings for the staff before and during the campaign.
  • The campaigns received highest political support and were duplicated (on Vologda’s expenses) to a large number of municipalities.

5. Men and the Youth

  • Component 5 had a strong focus on delivery of new knowledge. The reason is that the issues about men, masculinity, violence and gender equality just are in the beginning of the progress. To be able to contribute to the social change of men, a basic critical knowledge must be attained about the unequal gender relation which is a part of our social structure.
  • Besides the Working group, all the activities of the present component have been mostly focused on the
  • institutions, which are engaged in domestic violence prevention and/or care (Psychotherapeutic centre, Family support centre)
  • Youth and boys (Schools number 32 and 19  and University)
  • Other NGOs, which could be potential agents for  behavioural change regarding masculinity ( Men’s Club and university)
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