On 22-24 April 2019, the Council of Europe organised in Kyiv, Ukraine, a “training of trainers” (ToT) on providing legal aid to victims of violence against women and domestic violence. It was conducted under the project “The Istanbul Convention: a tool to advance in fighting violence against women and domestic violence in Ukraine”, in cooperation with the National Bar Association of Ukraine, the Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision of Ukraine and the Law Club “PRAVOKATOR”.
The objective of the training was to strengthen the knowledge of attorneys who are dealing with violence against women and domestic violence. It allowed presenting and discussing in particular the pertinent international standards and elements of domestic legislation, the collection of evidence, psychological aspects of violence and the involvement of victim support services. The training was also aimed at developing the practical skills of professionals with a view to ensuring that legal aid is centred on the victims and their human rights. It took into account relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the due diligence principle to prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparation for acts of violence against women, as defined in the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention.
The activity, which involved 14 legal practitioners, was conducted by an international expert hired by the Council of Europe, Doina Ioana Straisteanu – a lawyer from the Republic of Moldova – together with national lawyers and trainers Tamara Bugaiets and Marina Legenka as well as with Yevgen Varfalomeiev, forensic medical expert and Tetyana Tsiuman, Associate Professor in developmental and pedagogical psychology. The training created a pool of trainers who will disseminate the knowledge and information further among lawyers in various regions in Ukraine.
Olena Lytvynenko, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine, highlighted during the opening of the event the crucial role of legal practitioners – such as barristers – to effectively deal with violence against women in Ukraine, and that the Council of Europe is fully committed to pursuing activities and support in this important area.