Friday, May 25, 2018

PROTECTION FOR VICTIMS 7/9


6.1 Background  
Currently, three types of crime victim support organisations are available for abused women in Sweden:
1) women’s shelters and support centres for young women, 
2) crime victims support groups and 
3) municipal crisis centres.

Historically, organisations formed on a voluntary basis have borne the main responsibility for protecting women suffering from violence; while these organisations have some official employees they mainly rely on volunteers and are supported and supplemented by government grants/municipal reimbursement.26

Shelters are offered by the National Organisation for Women’s Shelters and Young Women's Shelters (Roks), and the Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres (SKR). Both organisations’ mission is twofold, while directly protecting women suffering from domestic violence they also hold a position in politics, attempting to mould public policy. 

The Crime Victim Support Association (BOJ) purely focuses in providing individual support, and does not exclusively cater to women, and has around 100 local support groups. 

Subsequent to multiple amendments to the Services Act, there has been increasing involvement with municipal services. This has challenged the role of voluntary organisations, who have been criticised of having less knowledge in areas of law and psychology. Considering they are volunteer-based and not a government outlet, this seems natural. Optimistically, it has also signalled to some that “violence against women has achieved official recognition as a problem in Sweden, beyond the jurisdiction of the women’s movement”.

6.2 Roks, the National Organisation for Women’s Shelters and Young Women's Shelters 
Roks, the National Organisation for Women’s Shelters and Young Women's Shelters in Sweden (Riksorganisation för kvinnojourer och tjejjourer in Sverige), is a feministic organisation working on the rights of women’s and young women's rights and liberation, as well as equality on all levels. It is the largest member organisation for women's shelters and young women's shelters in Sweden. Roks aims at safeguarding the common interests of the shelters in their work against male violence towards women. It also strives to shape public opinion and actively works to make the public aware of the reality that the shelters face. There are around 100 women’s and young women's shelters within the organisation. Most of the staff at the shelters are voluntary workers. In order to be accepted at a shelter one needs to attend a study circle arranged by the shelter.

6.2.1 The Women’s Shelters
 Each Women’s Shelter is independent and has its own working methods. They offer support based on the individual needs and wishes of each woman. This includes conversational support, giving advice on police reports or custody disputes and going along as support when visiting the police, lawyers and social services for example. Many shelters also offer sheltered housing for women and their children.
All shelters have an emergency helpline where women can call if the need support. Callers can choose to remain anonymous and no calls are registered. A number of shelters also have a separate legal hotline. Some shelters have text telephones to cater for women with impaired hearing. Other shelters specialize in receiving adults subjected to incest.

6.2.2 The Young Women's Shelters 
There are approximately  young women's shelters within Roks, out of which around ten are independent organisations. The young women's shelters work the same way as the women’s shelters but turn to younger women who, for example, have been subjected to threats, ill-treatment and sexual abuse, or, for some other reason, need to talk to another girl. They also actively work towards making the public aware of the girls’ living conditions.

6.3 The Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres (SKR)
 The Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres (Sveriges Kvinno- och Tjejjourers Riksförbund, SKR) works towards tackling men’s violence against women and providing them with support and empowering them. In line with the feministic values of Sweden, the SKR works on the ideology that gender equality must be addressed in many areas in society and discussed broadly in relation to men’s violence against women. The SKR is an association of women’s shelters (kvinnojour), young women’s empowerment centres (tjejjour), relatives’ associations and other organisations. While not officially affiliated with a political party, SKR works towards changing public policy in line with protecting women against violence.31

6.4 Crime Victim Support Association (BOJ)
 The Crime Victim Support Association (Brottsofferjourernas Riksförbund, BOJ) offers direct support for more than 40,000 people per year in a multilingual setting. It also operates on a voluntary basis and provides a free, confidential service for all victims of crime.32 BOJ offers emotional support, practical help, information services about filing police reports, investigations and legal proceedings and information in applying for crime victim compensation. Importantly, the services are not dependent on whether a crime has been officially reported.33 There are in total 60 BOJ local victim support centres around Sweden, designed to complement action by the public authorities.


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