First Lady: Ukraine to open 28 new shelters for victims of domestic violence
A total of 28 new shelters for victims of domestic violence will be opened across Ukraine this year, along with daycare centers and an emergency response service.
That's according to Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska who spoke in an interview with Korrespondent.
According to the president's spouse, in Europe regulations mandate a place in the shelter for every 10,000 population, while Ukraine earlier this year had only 16 shelters across the country, and not even in every region.
"In 2021, we're making a real leap – according to the action plan approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, 28 new shelters are to have been set up by December. In addition, daycare centers will be established: so that if someone hasn't made up their mind to leave home, it is possible to come for a consultation so that none of the neighbors or family are aware. A rapid response service is being created: 40 mobile teams that are supposed to deal with domestic violence exclusively. Forty cars will be purchased for their needs, "said the first lady.
Zelenska recalled that in mid-summer, the government allocated a subvention of about UEH 275 million (nearly US$ 10 million) to finance the launch of shelters, daycare centers, and special services within the police.
In addition, the head of state's spouse stressed that psychological assistance should also be provided to victims of domestic violence.
"A victim of domestic violence is welcome to call the 15-47 hotline. They can call social services. And then they will be offered to contact a shelter. Another option is where the social service calls the police and they take her to the shelter. Over there, persons are able to receive first legal aid, especially if they simply have no IDs. They are allowed to stay there for three to six months. They have everything necessary for children," Zelenska explained.
The first lady said that the current trend of domestic violence is "frightening", having become especially apparent amid lockdown.
The first lady stressed that in Ukraine, it's mostly women who become victims of domestic violence. "Although recently we are starting to find out that many men are also exposed to physical violence by women in families. It's psychological violence, above all," she said.
Zelenska stressed that the government's task in this area is to protect victims and punish perpetrators, and also to change victims' attitude to the problem, explaining that speaking up about violence is nothing to be ashamed of and that violence is not the norm.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, on April 14, the government approved the National Barrier-Free Strategy and established a Council to control and monitor its implementation.
Ukraine received the official status of a member of Biarritz Partnership, an International Initiative for Equal Rights and Opportunities, in September 2020.
The accession to the Partnership for Peace was initiated by the First Lady of Ukraine in December 2019.
The national strategy for creating a barrier-free space, initiated by Olena Zelenska, is aimed at creating conditions for equal access to public space for citizens with temporary or permanent limited mobility and other challenged categories.