On 21 July 2022, five hundred and twenty professionals who provide services to victims of violence against women, and ensure coordination of these services, participated in a one-day webinar organised by the Council of Europe. This webinar aimed to support participants’ important efforts to combat violence against women in Ukraine through social, legal, medical and psychological assistance to internally displaced persons and victims of sexual violence.
The webinar on violence against women in conflict introduced international standards to participants, including the Istanbul Convention which was ratified in Ukraine on 18 July 2022. Norms in international law on services to victims of sexual violence were specifically discussed, as well as an introduction to current Ukrainian and international practices in providing gender and victim-sensitive assistance to victims. The complex but vital issue of coordination of interdepartmental entities involved in the system of support and assistance to victims of violence against women at regional, district and local levels was additionally discussed at this widely attended forum. Drawing upon experience from Syria, Iraq, Sierra Leone and other countries facing wartime violence against women, the strategic role of sexual violence and the link between structural inequalities and sexual violence were also examined.
As feedback, the webinar participants commented that the topics were seen as very important at this time. Participants attending the webinar are responsible for the implementation of measures to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence, including representatives of structural subdivisions of regional and state administrations, children's protection services, social services, state structural units for health care, and centres for free secondary legal aid.
The webinar took place within a larger training programme for professionals combatting violence against women and was organised by the Council of Europe Project “Combating violence against women in Ukraine (COVAW)” in partnership with the National Social Service of Ukraine.