Maria and her children are the latest members of a state-run national center for victims of domestic violence that houses around 40 people in Tirana, Albania. She escaped her violent husband after 10 years of marriage.
“When Maria came to the center, she and her children, aged 6 and 8, were traumatized. Our counselling sessions continued for a while until Maria started to feel safe”, says Julia Vokopola, Head of Social Services Unit at the center.
- More than half of Albanian women have experienced at least one form of domestic violence in their lifetime.
- The system provides services to domestic violence survivors in 27 municipalities across the country.
- Around 300 women and children have been accommodated and supported in 5 years.
- In 2015, 47 percent of gender-based and domestic violence survivors found employment.
The place offers a number of services for the victims and their children, including medical support, counselling, legal services, and vocational training so they can enter the labor market.
Established with the assistance of UNDP and supported by other UN Agencies in Albania, the system has proved instrumental in providing multidisciplinary services to domestic violence survivors in 27 municipalities across the country.
Between 2013 and 2015, police statistics show a 30 percent increase in reported cases and a 35 percent increase in requests for protection made to the local police. Numbers also show a 24 percent increase in arrests made. Since the establishment of the center five years ago, around 300 women and children have been accommodated and supported to leave violent surroundings, rehabilitate and start again with their normal lives.
In addition, through rehabilitation and reintegration programmes implemented in 2015, 47 percent of gender-based and domestic violence survivors found a job, as compared with 38 percent in 2014.
More than half of Albanian women have experienced at least one form of domestic violence in their lifetime. With support from UNDP, a decree to improve coordination among various local government units was passed by the Council of Ministers.
Following this decision, the government of Albania created an online system in 2014 to document and track cases. Both local and national government entities are now able to check the status of each case and take action if they aren’t progressing fast enough.