Health care systems in Europe remain a key but underutilized entry point through which victims of gender-based violence (GBV) can be identified and supported. Health care professionals are in a position to break the silence and offer critical care to women and children who are victims of violence and suffer its health consequences for many years.
Furthermore, they are often the ones who have the most contact with survivors. Yet health professionals often fail to identify patients experiencing abuse, and thus only treat the presenting complaints and miss an opportunity to further identify, plan for safety and refer women to specialized GBV services. In some countries, health professionals do not have the infrastructure or legal support to provide the necessary care.
In other they lack of systematic training in GBV identification, sometimes because GBV is not seen as a health problem, but more of a social problem. It is critical that health professionals play a key role in ensuring that the health care system responds to GBV and protects women’s health and rights, and this can only be done by directly connecting the health care system to the specialized support services, having a multi-agency approach to the GBV problem. We started working to increase capacity building within the health settings in 2014, by implemented the Project IMPLEMENT – Specialized support for victims of violence in health care systems across Europe. The project aimed to better meet the needs of survivors of GBV by securing a strong connection between the health system and women’s specialized services, focusing on emergency departments. After a successful implementation, we are continuing our work with the Project RESPONSE – Multi-Agency Response for Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in Maternal Health Services. In this project, our main objective is to provide capacity building in five partner European countries (Austria, Germany, France, Romania and Spain) in order to increase disclosure in patients and referral to specialized services for survivors of gender-based violence in women’s health services, using a rights-based, gender-sensitive and survivor-centered approach informed by robust research evidence.
The coordination of the project is conducted by Babes-Bolyai University (UBB) Department of Public Health in Romania, with the support of gender-based violence researchers and policy experts at the University of Bristol, UK.
More information on the IMPLEMENT Project results: http://www.gbv-implement- health.eu/
For updates on our project check out or website or follow us on twitter @gbv_response