Establishing shelters for women who suffer from domestic violence
Detailed description of the Good Practice
In 2002, Tartu was the first city in Estonia to open a shelter for women who have suffered from home violence. Since then, the house has been serving as a place for women to calm down after the initial shock and get counseling on how to start a new life.
During its four years of activity, the shelter has helped more than 350 women. It is possible to stay there as long as necessary; some women have used this possibility for several months. But Sirje Otstavel, the founder and manager of the shelter stresses that it is by no means meant as a place to stay – the counselors are helping women to actively seek for a job and their own housing.
Women are welcome to take their children to the shelter as well; however, there is a separate shelter for women with kids younger than 3 years of age, since their needs are more specific.
Providing a place to stay is only a small part of the work of NGO Women’s Shelter of Tartu. Its aim is to promote the acknowledgement of domestic violence as a problem in a wider sense. With the help of Tartu, two similar shelters have been set up in other towns in Estonia and the third one is about to be opened.
In addition, the NGO has set up several campaigns to raise awareness of home violence, the most recent of them, “When love hurts”, set up posters with shocking images all over Estonia. Otstavel assures that the number of calls on the help-line and women who turned to the shelters shows that the campaign helped several women realize that there is an alternative to a violent relationship. In 2003, a support group was set up for people who have had contact with domestic violence. It is meant for women who have suffered from violence as well as the people whose friends or family has had problems with violence. Today, the support groups are working in 10 cities around Estonia. In 2005, the first support group was set up in Tallinn for men who want to deal with managing their anger. Today, the NGO Women’s Shelter of Tartu is networking with 1500 similar centers around Europe and its more recent
trend is moving towards helping the victims of human trafficking and prostitution.
social equity and justice
Objectives of the Good Practice
The objective was to establish a shelter for women sho suffer from domestic violence and to help them starting a new life again.
Participants of the Good Practice
NGO Women´s shelter of Tartu
City of Tartu
Target group of the Good Practice
for women who suffer from domestic violence
More Details of the Good Practice
Tartu City Government
Data sources and references
UBC Environmental Bulletin 2/06