The objective of the Leaving violence. Living safe project is also to contribute to the improvement of policies and interventions concerning migrant asylum seeking and refugee women who have suffered or are in a situation of gender-based violence, both through dialogue with the institutions that at local, national and international level define and implement measures that have or may have an impact on their condition, and through the dissemination of press releases on the activities carried out by the project or on other related issues.

Strategic proposals for an inclusive anti-violence system

The main tool for advocacy activities is the document Leaving violence. Living safe – Strategic proposals to improve the response of the Italian anti-violence system to the specific needs of migrant women asylum seekers and refugees who have suffered violence (here the text in Italian).

The document is the result of a workshop that took place online on 27 and 28 November and 4 December 2020, involving operators, cultural mediators, lawyers, psychologists, experts in human rights and gender-based violence and coordinators of the 71 anti-violence centres that between 2017 and 2020 took part in the activities of the project, coordinated by D.i.Re together with UNHCR.

It includes proposals for actions that should be implemented – with a systemic approach and operational collaboration – by institutions at various levels (national, regional, local), public services (health, social, training and labour) and civil society actors involved in supporting migrant women, including anti-violence centres and community organisations created by people of foreign origin.

The document was presented to the public on 15 December 2020 with an online press conference attended by the Minister of Equal Opportunities Elena Bonetti, with the aim of drawing attention to the specific needs of migrant asylum seeking and refugee women in situations of violence in view of the definition of the new National Anti-Violence Plan 2021-2024.

Asylum seeking and refugee women in other advocacy tools developed by D.i.Re

References to the improvement of the condition of migrant asylum-seeking and refugee women have been included in two other important advocacy tools elaborated by D.i.Re:

– in the report Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in Italy. Shasow Report of Women’s NGOs, i.e. the civil society shadow report for GREVIO, Council of Europe Group of Experts on Violence against women, the drafting of which was coordinated by D.i.Re in 2018. This report contributed to the outcomes of the monitoring process of the implementation of the Istanbul Convention in Italy by GREVIO, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Violence. GREVIO’s Report on Italy, published on 13 January 2020, also contains specific recommendations regarding the implementation of the Istanbul Convention with respect to migrant women asylum seekers and refugees;

– in the Position Paper The Change We Want. Feminist proposals 25 years post Beijing, presented in Rome on 9 July 2020 and elaborated by a group of civil society organisations and individual experts coordinated by D.i.Re in the framework of activities related to the 25th anniversary of the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women.

Advocacy related to the Covid-19 pandemic

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on migrant asylum seeking and refugee women was the subject of a specific advocacy action. With the contribution of the anti-violence centres participating in the project, the survey Emergenza sanitaria e confinamento: l’impatto sull’accoglienza di donne richiedenti asilo e rifugiate (Health emergency and confinement: the impact on the reception of asylum seeking and refugee women, available here in Italian) was carried out and disseminated through a press release.

D.i.Re also subscribed to the document by ASGI, Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione, Emergenza Covid-19.  L’impatto sui diritti delle/dei cittadine/i straniere/i e le misure di tutela necessarie: una prima ricognizione (Covid-19 Emergency. The impact on the rights of foreign citizens and the necessary protection measures: a first survey, here available in Italian) to ask for specific interventions within the measures implemented to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Including anti-violence centres in the framework of the support system for asylum seeking and refugee women

The advocacy action promoted by the Leaving violence. Living safe project also aims at the recognition of anti-violence centres as an indispensable actor among those involved in supporting and protecting migrant asylum seeking and refugee women, both by institutions and by the public opinion.

For this reason, in 2020, on the occasion of the 16 days of activism against violence against women called by the United Nations (25 November – 10 December), 3 animated videos (available here) were made that tell about the support offered by anti-violence centres from the point of view of an operator, a cultural mediator and a refugee woman.