The main goal of the project “The Integrated System of Domestic Violence Prevention” is to develop a model of preventing domestic violence at the municipal level. The solutions proposed in the model, at the level of selective prevention, are to reduce the occurrence of the phenomenon of domestic violence. The model developed and tested within Centers for Families is to answer two identified needs: the lack of integration of stakeholder activities at the commune level and the lack of selective prevention activities (people experiencing relationship difficulties and therefore threatened with domestic violence). The project will be implemented in partnership with scientists from the Institute of Justice in Warsaw (project leader) and the University of Stavanger (project partner).
Domestic Violence (DV) is a growing problem in many European countries. In 2019. The police recorded over 88,000 of DV victims. The best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it by taking preventive measures.
The current system is dominated by actions from two areas: intervention (reaction to revealed DV) and prophylactic at the universal level. It is related to the existence of specialized institutions in the field of assistance to victims and a wide range of universal preventive programs, e.g. in schools. There is a lack of implementation of selective and indicating prevention. Indicative prophylaxis (cf. K. Ostaszewski, New definitions of levels of prevention, Remedium 2005 No. 7) in the area of violence is not present in the activities of institutions and organizations.
One of the factors that may lead to violence is the low quality of relationships between adult partners (see J.Przeperski, Diagnosing the phenomenon of domestic violence – theoretical and practical contexts, 2019, Family Forum No. 9). Currently, activities related to relational support (counseling for spouses and partners) are carried out to a small extent. Family counselling is provided by 127 specialist family counselling units (58 communes, 69 poviats – MRPiPS for 2016). In many cases, the main emphasis is placed on educational and, to a lesser extent, relational counselling. In Poland, we do not have diagnostic tools allowing for the identification of people particularly at risk of violence (identification of groups covered by indicative prophylaxis). Another problem is the relatively poor coordination of preventive actions. Interdisciplinary teams are established already in the event of violence and in practice they do not function at the level of creating a preventive system (cf. K. Wlaźlak, Problems of the functioning of interdisciplinary teams for counteracting domestic violence, Local Government 2012, No. 4). The small number of integrated preventive actions, also related to relational support, results from the lack of appropriate models and work tools that could be used by commune and poviat institutions. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare a systemic solution that will be applied in various types of communes. The target group are employees of the institutions of the violence prevention system (e.g. social workers, educators, therapists, psychologists, probation officers, representatives of NGOs) and specialists associated with Centers for Families (implemented under small grants). The final beneficiaries will be both families, couples experiencing difficulties in relationships that may lead to violence, and employees of institutions and organizations. The model creation is in line with Art. 7 of the Istanbul Convention.
The activities planned in the project are to contribute to reducing the identified problems related to the occurrence of domestic violence. The methodology of operation is consistent with the standards of creating public policies (analysis of the existing situation, development of a solution, testing the solution, development of the final solution / program, dissemination of the solution). The project has 7 main stages (they correspond to the indicated products):
- Analysis and evaluation of the system of domestic violence prevention and relational support and its availability for clients in Poland and Norway;
- Preparation of a tool for identifying cases at risk of domestic violence resulting from dysfunctional interpersonal relations (Relational Assessment Risk Scale);
- Preparation of the guide “Implementation of the local system of supporting interpersonal relations for families at risk of domestic violence”;
- Preparation of municipalities for testing the model;
- Evaluation and optimization of the model of an integrated system of preventing domestic violence tested in communes;
- Final evaluation, development of the final version of the model;
- Dissemination of the “Integrated system of prevention of domestic violence” model (decision-makers, municipalities not participating in the project, professionals, scientists in Poland and abroad).
The activities carried out under the project were designed on the basis of the methodology of creating public policies based on evidence and scientific research. The first stage will allow to identify the existing solutions and needs related to the prevention and occurrence of the phenomenon of domestic violence as well as the conditions of access to prevention and support services. This is a necessary stage to develop a model that will be based on up-to-date and reliable scientific data. The developed Relational Risk Assessment Scale will be the first screening tool of this type allowing the identification of families at risk of domestic violence implied by a dysfunctional relationship. It is necessary to implement measures at the level of indicative prevention.
The guide “Implementing the local system of supporting interpersonal relations for families at risk of domestic violence” will be a study containing both proposals for system solutions at the commune level (cooperation between institutions) and a methodical model of working with families with dysfunctional interpersonal relationships. It will be the main material on which the implementation of the model and the preparation of professionals during the training will be based. During the implementation of the model in municipalities, the research team will continuously evaluate the model and submit proposals for its optimization. Practical verification of the model and its objective, scientific evaluation will ensure a high level of its effectiveness and availability. Final evaluation will allow for the development of an optimized final version of the model. The last stage is to popularize the model so that it can be commonly used as a system solution in Poland. The Norwegian University of Stavanger is a partner in the project. It was selected because it is a research unit that has experience in conducting international projects in the socio-cultural sphere. It has also collaborated with other Polish universities. The University of Stavanger will carry out activities in each phase of the project. Throughout the duration of the project, a series of meetings between the Polish and Norwegian research groups (both in Poland and Norway) are planned. The Norwegian research group will conduct a review of literature and documents on domestic violence available in Norway, conduct research on institutions dealing with the prevention of violence and help those affected by it in Norway, conduct a survey on the availability of the domestic violence prevention system in Norway, participate in developing publications on enriching family relationships and developing tools to assess the model of domestic violence prevention. In the final phase of the project, Norwegian scientists will take part in conferences to disseminate information about the developed and tested model.
The result of the project will be the creation of a model for counteracting domestic violence, based on the Relational Risk Assessment Scale, which will be widely available and possible to implement by each commune. Trainings for specialists in the field of support and assistance for children and families affected by domestic violence conducted during the project will familiarize them with the developed model. The publication on enriching family relationships, developed as part of the project, will also be available after its completion. The project will make it possible to establish relations between Polish and Norwegian scientists.