Ukrainian Ombudsman and UNDP join forces to combat domestic violence

23 Jun 2013

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The first in a series of training sessions on “The Psychological Treatment of Domestic Violence Perpetrators” took place at the Office of the Ukrainian Ombudsman in Kyiv on 29 May 2013.

The session which brought together practicing psychologists from centres of social and psychological aid in Ukraine was the start of a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme and the Office of the Ukrainian Ombudsman aimed at preventing and combatting domestic violence.

This initiative envisages partnership in monitoring field visits to assess the quality of services by specialized institutions to victims of domestic violence while delivering training programmes to prevent and eliminate the violence.

Opening the session, the Representative of the Ombudsman on the Rights of the Child, Nondiscrimination, and Gender Equality, Ms. Aksana Filipishina said: “The  effective protection of and assistance to victims of domestic violence are the instruments which ensure the right of everyone to a safe life, free of humiliation and fear, and the right to psychological and physical immunity.

“Despite the fact that the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence has been in effect for 10 years now, it has nonetheless failed to become an effective instrument in preventing domestic violence in Ukraine. Therefore, one of the priorities of the Office of the Ombudsperson is prevention of violence against women and prevention of domestic violence”.
Ms. Filipishina stressed that inadequate or insufficient action on the part of the agencies
responsible for the prevention of domestic violence was a factor that interfered
with victims obtaining proper and adequate assistance while the offenders are left
unpunished.
She called for an improvement in the  professional level of specialists working in the field of domestic violence, specifically targeting specialists engaged with correctional programmes. The topic selected for the training specifically identified psychological correction of offenders as an entry point to combatting domestic violence.
Assistance to victims of domestic violence may not be effective without correctional work on domestic offenders while ensuring safety within the family. The next session will involve specialists from the Centres for Social Services for Family, Children, and Youth, district police officers, and judges conducting cases of domestic violence. The training was organized within the UNDP “Democratization, Human Rights, and Civil Society Development in Ukraine” project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark from 2013 to 2016.
NOTE: The word “ombudsman” is Scandinavian in origin and means a representative. It doesn’t mean a man as such. The word is gender neutral and therefore can apply to a man or a woman. English usage is always “ombudsman”.