Leaving violence. Living safe is a project implemented by D.i.Re – Donne in rete contro la violenza, in partnership with UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The project has been prepared with the research Progetto Samira. Per un’accoglienza competente e tempestiva di donne e ragazze straniere in situazione di violenza e di tratta in arrivo in Italia, carried out by D.i.Re in 2016, and by the first pilot project implemented in partnership with UNHCR in 2017 and 2018 under the title Ensuring meaningful access to service to asylum seeking and refugee women and girls.

Why Living violence. Living safe

Many migrant asylum seeking and refugee women and girls, in particular those who arrive in Italy through the Mediterranean Sea after a period spent in Libya, have experienced multiple forms of violence.

They may have been obliged to leave their home countries to escape from violence and abuse, with migration as their only opportunity for saving their lives. During their journey towards Europe, they may have been kidnapped, sold, enslaved. They may have been raped, even gang raped, or tortured. They may have been segregated, deprived of light, food, water, sanitation, healthcare. They may have been trafficked and forced into prostitution, obliged to sell their bodies to collect the money needed to continue their travel. Sometimes violence does not stop when they are finally in Italy, as their male partner may abuse them.

They often fail to recognise that they are entitled to the respect of their human rights and to a life without sexual and gender based violence. Upon arrival, the majority of them wishes only “to forget”, and “get along with my life”. But the trauma may continue to trouble them, and they will most probably be obliged to repeat their story again and again during the procedure for the recognition of international protection.

Leaving violence. Living safe is meant to support D.i.Re centers in strengthening their capacities to support asylum seeking and refugee women and girls while at the same time adapting D.i.Re’s methodology to their specific needs. It will allow to learn from the experience made by case workers and cultural mediators in creating the conditions for a transformative path, rooted in a trustful relationship among women, leading asylum seeking and refugee women and girls from trauma and pain to self empowerment.

Leaving violence. Living safe activities

  • Training of cultural mediator and case workers on SGBV and D.i.Re’s methodology and short term internships in D.i.Re centers;
  • Local networking to connect D.i.Re centers, other local stakeholders active in SGBV prevention and treatment and the asylum reception system, as these two domains have so far only limited connections, mainly related to trafficking prevention;
  • Production of an adapted version D.i.Re’ methodology to support SGBV survivors to the specific needs of asylum seeking and refugee women, based on the experienced gained by D.i.Re centres involved in the project;
  • Outreach towards asylum-seeking and refugee women in both organised and informal contexts by the operators and cultural mediators of the anti-violence centres involved in the project, to spread knowledge about the support offered and facilitate contact by women who have suffered or are in situations of violence;
  • Advocacy towards international, national and local institutions, with the aim of highlighting the specific condition of migrant women asylum seekers and refugees and promoting initiatives to improve it, including the production of videos to sensitise the public through media and social networks.