Warsaw is once again participating in the “16 Days of Action against Gender-Based Violence” campaign. Its aim is to raise the awareness among women and men in Warsaw experiencing violence that there are organisations in the city where they can always seek help.
As emphasised Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw, the Capital pays much attention to offering support and assistance to victims of violence. And this includes social, housing, legal and psychological support. The staff of Warsaw’s centres can provide support in overcoming the crisis situation, develop an assistance plan, and help provide shelter. But it is necessary to take the first step. So, dare to make a phone call and report that you are a victim of violence. Or take another brave and responsible step ‒ help someone who is a victim.
According to research, violence is “democratic”. A higher social status, better education, a place of residence or financial resources do not protect against domestic violence. Both people experiencing violence and its perpetrators can be encountered in every social group, and in every district of Warsaw.
However, violence is still strongly associated with gender. The vast majority of those experiencing abuse are women, while the majority of perpetrators are men. In 2020 in Warsaw, based on the completed Blue Cards A data, the number of individuals experiencing domestic violence exceeded 6000, of whom 48% were women and 42% were children, while the number of those using violence amounted to nearly 4000, of whom 80% were men.
Together with the Warsaw Council of Women, I strongly support this campaign. Let’s remember that if we or someone around us is experiencing violence, there are several organisations in our city willing to offer support, said Aldona Machnowska-Góra, Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Warsaw for Women.
Varsovians most often reach for institutional help when the problem escalates. It is, therefore, crucial to provide effective information about places where assistance can be sought. In Warsaw there are several organisations supporting people experiencing violence, e.g. the Warsaw Crisis Intervention Centre (tel.: 22 855 44 32) and the 24-hour hotline of the Women’s Rights Centre Foundation (tel. 600 070 717). A full list of contacts can be found at um.warszawa.pl/antyprzemocowa.
This year, the Warsaw campaign “Violence feeds on silence” is addressed to witnesses of abuse ‒ often the only people who can help to overcome this difficult situation. The intervention of a witness can initiate the process of the victim’s breaking up with domestic violence, but most of all it can help to ensure their safety. Unfortunately, violence frequently remains invisible at first glance, and its victims tend to hide the symptoms. Therefore, under the Warsaw campaign “Violence feeds on silence”, the streets of the Capital have been filled with posters to draw the attention of residents to the invisible side of violence.
Warsaw is once again actively participating in the 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence. This campaign was initiated in 1991 by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute at Rutgers University, USA. Since then, the project has taken place between 25 November (the International Day against Violence towards Women) and 10 December (the International Human Rights Day).