No single agency or institution can address violence against women and domestic violence alone.
This fundamental idea, which is enshrined in the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), is the focus of four capacity-building sessions on multi-agency cooperation in Azerbaijan taking place this Autumn.
A total of 15 participants attended the first two sessions on 5 and 6 October 2022, including representatives from the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, the Ombudsperson’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and civil society.
Participants shared their views on why they believe multi-agency cooperation on violence against women and domestic violence is important in Azerbaijan. The Head of the Human Rights and Public Relations Department at the Ministry of Justice in Azerbaijan, Aynur Sabitova, notably remarked that “you are stronger when you work together”, a statement that explains in simple terms why cooperation mechanisms are key to improve the response to violence against women and domestic violence cases, and therefore ensure better protection of victims and accountability of perpetrators, and reduce the risk of repeat, severe and fatal violence.
The facilitator of these sessions, international expert Valentina Andrasek, explained the purpose and function of a multi-agency cooperation mechanism, and its key principles, which entail avoiding secondary victimization and victim blaming, as well as providing safety, protection, and support to victims.
The participants then looked into risk assessment and safety planning, taking part in practical group exercises, including brainstorming and case studies.
Two follow-up sessions will be taking place on 3 and 4 November 2022 and will serve as a platform for the participants to jointly develop a draft multi-agency co-operation plan.
These capacity-building sessions are being organised under the project “Raising awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in Azerbaijan,” funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe in their Partnership for Good Governance II 2019-2022.