Poland News | Oct 22, 2018

Avon holds Justice Institute to tackle gender-based violence in Poland

Justice Institute Poland to tackle gender-based violence

In October, The Avon Foundation for Women convened the first Justice Institute in Poland as part of its global programme to help end violence against women and girls.  21 Justice Institute workshops have been held across 12 countries and like all the others, the event held in Poland focussed on improving the effectiveness of interventions and support for victims of violence.

By bringing together professionals at the front line of tackling gender-based violence including police, prosecutors, judges, social workers and charities, the four-day workshop involved training and planning around how to overcome barriers in the Polish system to helping affected women.  Considering legal and practical issues, the participants considered how they could interact better to make the process as effective as possible, so harmful situations are identified, reported, perpetrators prosecuted and women able to move forward with the best possible support.

With police statistics revealing that there were 67,000 reported cases of domestic violence last year in Poland, the Justice Institute Programme – run in partnership with Vital Voices - was welcomed by the country’s Commissioner for Human Rights and the Women’s Rights Center.  “It is worth noting that these numbers only account for a small fraction of the cases.  Most women, for various reasons, do not report the cases of violence to law enforcement agencies. We have still much to do in Poland in order to ensure that the perpetrators of violence crimes do not go unpunished and that women can feel safe and willing to speak about the violence they experience. This is why interdisciplinary training, a critical reflection on the institutional and legislative solutions adopted in our country and their continuous improvement are of key importance,” says Urszula Nowakowska, President of the Women's Rights Center.

Since 2014 The Avon Foundation for Women has funded Justice Institute events in countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Romania, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

"We are learning that although each country faces different challenges, Justice Institute participants around the world report a common barrier: existing laws are not understandable or applied in a coherent way, so women are left without protection, and abusers without accountability," says Christine Jaworsky, Director, Avon Global Foundation for Women. "While we have a lot of work ahead, what these Institutes have already achieved is inspiring and making a real practical difference to women affected.”