National statistics reveal increased level of domestic violence in Albania - Men and boys unite to end it
Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Sweden organized today the national conference “Boys and men – part of the solution. Show you are against violence!” in the framework of the 16 Days of Activism to end Violence against Women.
With the participation of high state officials, representatives of the diplomatic missions in the country, civil society activists and UN agencies, the conference seeks to reaffirm the Government of Albania committment towards eradication of gender-based and domestic violence and to launch the most recent studies and policy directions developed to address the phenomenon, such as the National Survey of Domestic Violence.
The new official statistics launched today revealed an increase in the overall level of violence ever experienced by women in Albania, from 56% in 2007 to 59.4% in 2013, with 53% of women currently living in constant abuse. Over 80% of abuse begins within the first three years of marriage and many report to have spent years in violent relationships. Indeed, only 8.4% of women try to seek help, although more of them turn to public authorities then they did back in 2007, when they mostly turned to family and friends for assistance. Women with primary education (66.7%), those not working outside home (64.2%), rural women (2 out of 3) and women on maternity leave (3 out of 4) were significantly more at risk of domestic violence. Mothers were also asked of the children’s exposure to domestic violence. Those who admitted that their children were affected by violence (14%) confirmed that in 86.4% of cases children witnessed domestic violence, 42.8% reported the domestic violence caused learning problems for their children, 31.2% reported their children live in fear, 19.2% reported their children were hurt or injured because of domestic violence, and 5.5% reported their children left home to live with relatives because of domestic violence.
Prime Minister Edi Rama during his speech expressed his commitment to strengthen the supporting mechanisms for women experiencing domestic violence, offer free legal support and reintegrate them in the society. An important element of the new approach to this phenomenon is the economic benefit supervised by women. “You can’t seek for solutions within vulnerable groups. Solutions should be sought in the rest of the society who can’t live with indifference with these vulnerable groups”, the Prime Minister added.
Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, Erion Veliaj, present at the event said: “The Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth will continue to guide and lead all the efforts and engagement of Albania to advance gender issues and fight to eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. The national plan to engage boys and men aims to have them as close partners in this campaign to tear down the violent patriarchal mentality and guarantee the protection of women’s rights.”
Addressing the conference, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun said referring to gender-based violence: “Whatever we do, whether in our families, communities, countries, or our planet, we do it to each-other and we do it to ourselves and our dear ones. Therefore, whatever progress we make in terms of eradicating this horrible pandemic, we can only make it happen while working together, men and women.”
Mr. Patrik Svensson, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Embassy of Sweden present at the conference noted: "We see our partners working in the area of combating gender-based violence still having to explain and defend their work, at times in hostile environments. In order to decrease and eventually stop gender-based violence, a paradigm shift is needed. Gender Based Violence is like a weed. Eradication of it demands increased focus on the root causes of violence. Not surprisingly, these are to be founded in gender-based power inequalities and gender-based discrimination."
Other studies that were launched during the conference were the study Fjale burri! [A man’s word of honour!] and a media analysis from the gender perspective. Other perspectives were brought by the Shelter for Abused Women regarding challenges in rehabilitating boys from trauma and transforming them into adults who are respectful to women and gain the confidence to advocate against gender-based violence.
Civil society organisations with UN support are organizing a number of activities to invite men and boys across the country to challenge gender-based violence, as part of the UN Secretary General’s system-wide campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women.
UNDP Communications Manager