Domestic violence is an ongoing phenomenon all around Europe.
CEP and EuroPris therefore decided to establish an expert-group, both within Prison and Probation, in order to promote better national regulation and best practices for countering Domestic violence in Europe.
The expert group will contribute to improving the management and rehabilitation of offenders with a domestic violence background and to raising awareness about this issue in European Prison and Probation Services.
On Monday 22nd February, the European Day for the Victims of Crime, CEP and EuroPris organized their fourth joint expert meeting on Domestic Violence in prison and probation.
Via Zoom, the group of experts came together online to share their experiences on Domestic Violence work during the Covid-19 pandemic – the increase of cases, the problems of having to work with offenders and victims remotely, the difficulties of being in a lockdown, and many other aspects.
Alessandra Pauncz, Executive Director of the European Network for Work with Perpetrators , gave a presentation on her organization’s work with an emphasis on three topics : the guidelines that they had drafted for working with offenders, the types of crime that had increased during the pandemic, and the lessons learnt from the last year.
The report of the meeting can be downloaded here.
The presentation of Work with Perpetrators was also recorded and published on the EuroPris YouTube channel.
On 25-26 February, the CEP and EuroPris expert group on Domestic Violence came together in Hasselt, Belgium, for its second meeting.
On Monday afternoon, a study visit to the Family Justice Centre took place, where its multi-agency work was presented. The next day, the meeting continued at the town hall of Hasselt. The collection of best practices and domestic violence treatment programs were discussed, after which four sessions of “sharing and learning” were held on: maintaining victim safety; on the difficulty of sharing (confidential) information; on not-(yet)-convicted perpetrators and on sustainable funding for treatment programs.
It is important to understand that domestic violence can be a “hidden” problem of offenders that have been sentenced for other crimes, not related to domestic violence. It is important to identify those cases. Attention needs also to be paid to the differences in cultural and religious backgrounds and to increase the knowledge about this matter in order to tackle domestic violence in different contexts. Domestic violence is an issue in both sectors, prison and probation. For that reason, CEP and EuroPris work together in this joint expert group.
In 2020, a special newsletter was published on the issue of Domestic Violence. Click here to view the special issue on domestic violence Newsletter.
The second CEP-EuroPris expert meeting on Domestic Violence took place on 25-26 February 2020 in Hasselt, Belgium.
Domestic Violence Experts gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the 7th and 8th of March 2019 for the CEP and EuroPris Expert Meeting on Domestic Violence in Prison and Probation. During this first meeting of the expert group on domestic violence the group has been given national presentations that provided a good picture on what’s going on in this field.
Domestic violence stands for at least 1/5 of all crimes in many countries and there is a common belief that domestic violence still is underreported. Many cases of domestic violence include very serious crimes like murder and the minor ones seem to be forgotten or neglected. It is important to remember that victims of domestic violence can be both men, women and also children. There is also a cultural dimension on how acceptable domestic violence is and what is considered domestic violence. Economic factors and opportunities that are offered to victims of domestic violence have a strong influence on the possibility to leave a violent relationship.
Many NGO´s in this field focus on the victims and distrust the prison and probation sector. They tend to forget that working with offender is a way to protect future victims. The Prison and Probation service in some countries works with victims of crimes but in many countries there are other services for victims. There are a lack of programmes for treatment of domestic violence in prison in many countries. The Istanbul convention gives some direction for the work with perpetrators but is in general strongly victim oriented.
Close cooperation with different services is very important in domestic violence cases. Common tools provide for a common language which is important when many stakeholders are involved. SARA is a good example of that.
There is lot of good working already running in prison and probation organisations. But still there is a lot to be learned and developed. The first meeting of this expert group was a good start for further learning and development in this important field.
Special issue on domestic violence:
|England||Sarah Henfrey (Chair)||EuroPris|
|Czech Republic||Vaclav Jiricka||EuroPris|
|Malta||Anna Maria Vella||EuroPris|
|Austria||Birgit Prucha||EuroPris Reserve|
|Catalonia||Marian Martinez Garcia||EuroPris Reserve|
|Slovenia||Simona Svetin Jakopič||CEP|
|Catalonia (Spain)||Joan Pantaleon||CEP|
EuroPris coordinator Kirsten Hawlitschek
CEP coordinator Willem van der Brugge
Supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union