A protocol to promote autonomy for female victims of abuse

A way to provide concrete help to women who are victims of violence, who sometimes risk being isolated after the events that involved them. The first operational protocol to promote autonomy and economic independence for women who have been victims of violence was born in Milan. It is signed by the municipality of Milan together with Metropolitan City, Afol Metropolitana, ActionAid Italia onlus and the 14 bodies of the city’s anti-violence network.

The protocol “Work and gender-based violence” was presented in the House of Rights, as part of the 2022 Welfare Forum, and aims to promote the socio-economic empowerment of women emerging from situations of violence, a process that is not just about job opportunities, but also the right to decent work, to a safe and harassment-free workplace and opens up discussion on other aspects, such as housing and policies to promote female employment.

In Milan alone, the anti-violence centers and shelters in the 2021 anti-violence network welcomed more than 1,800 women. Promoting women’s socio-economic independence means making socio – labor market policies sensitive to the gender dimension and the needs of women entering or re-entering the labor market.

For these reasons, within Milan’s anti-violence network, it was considered necessary to create Work table and gender violence, a place for discussion, debate and sharing. The table – coordinated by the municipality of Milan and co-facilitated by ActionAid as part of the European project “WeGo3!” – involved the anti-violence and crisis centers in the urban network, but also the bodies involved in work in various capacities such as private employment agencies, trade unions, trade unions and training and work centers, with the aim of identifying needs, critical issues and good practice to build together an effective model of intervention and cooperation.

The fragmentation of territorial services is in fact one of the main obstacles that women have to face on their way to escape violence: that is why the choice of the table to sign a multi-agency and interinstitutional territorial protocol , which can guarantee integrated and shared approaches is fundamental, and to promote a continuous dialogue between the various issues involved in social, labor market and gender equality policies, and always put women welcomed by the anti-violence network at the center . The aim is to combine “individualized interventions” to accompany women in building and strengthening skills and gaining independence, starting from the economic, through education and job placement.

The protocol is a first, important step in promoting women’s autonomy and a strong signal to take responsibility towards the city’s institutions and of all components of society, which from different perspectives are committed to combating the phenomenon of gender-based violence.

Among the activities that will be implemented immediately through the implementation of the protocol and the associated operational procedures are: training sessions conducted by the anti-violence network for the operators of Afol employment centers; business information campaigns; analysis of the education and work needs of women accepted by the anti-violence network; individualized empowerment plans aimed at integration into social work, but also at job retention and the improvement of women’s skills; a monitoring and evaluation activity aimed at understanding the impact of the protocol and the related operating procedures on co-constructed roads with women.

The signatures on the minutes are those from Councilors Alessia Cappello (Labor) and Lamberto Bertolé (Welfare and Health), from the Mayor’s delegate for equal opportunities for gender – Elena Lattuada, of the 14 bodies of the Anti-Violence Network in the municipality. Milan from AFOL Metropolitana as the reference body for the implementation of the CPI interventions in Milan and the second CPI managed by it in the metropolitan area, by the Delegate for Labor and Social Policy in the capital city of Milan, Diana De Marchi and ActionAid Italia onlus. The signatories – who will be the control room for the protocol – hope that other bodies are interested in signing the protocol and working together to improve the pathways to autonomy and socio-economic independence for women who have been victims of violence.

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