A frame of the video made for the project 'Leaving violence. Living Safe' of UNHCR | Photo: UNHCR
A frame of the video made for the project 'Leaving violence. Living Safe' of UNHCR | Photo: UNHCR

Thanks to the project 'Leaving violence. Living safe', promoted by the association D.i.Re in partnership with UNHCR, 50 female asylum seekers and refugees have been aided this year by the group's anti-violence centers that have responded to the specific needs of victims of abuse.

Human rights association D.i.Re ("Women on the Net against violence") has provided assistance to 50 refugee women as part of a project promoted in partnership with UN Refugee agency UNHCR. That's according to D.i.Re expert Laura Pasquero, who spoke at a meeting in Rome that took place on Human Rights Day (December 10).

The association collaborated with 290 local institutions as part of the project 'Leaving violence. Living safe,' said Pasquero during the meeting at Rome's women's center Casa internazionale delle donne. The gathering was attended by operators, cultural mediators and experts who work for anti-violence centers involved in the project.

According to UNHCR, people forced to flee from war, violence or persecution run the risk of suffering sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) while traveling or in countries where they seek protection. SGBV itself can also be the reason they are forced to leave their country.

Cultural mediators essential for centers

Attending the meeting to represent the president of the national network of anti-violence centers, councilor of the Veneto region Mariangela Zani said 'Leaving violence. Living safe' is an opportunity to improve the work carried out by centers.

Furthermore, it could "expand their ability to respond to the specific needs of asylum seekers and refugees," Zani said.

Chiara Sanseverino and Elena Cirelli, the project's coordinators, stressed the relevance of the ''huge effort made by anti-violence centers to build a dialogue with the system'' hosting migrants and asylum seekers. Adapting to the "new context" brought about by the implementation of Italy's new security decree was another effort they pointed out.

The duo further praised the "stable inclusion of cultural mediators in the teams" working for the centers to better help victims of abuse.

Strengthening territorial networks

Nardos Neamin, the SGVB expert at UNHCR who has followed the project since its inception, urged to "strengthen territorial networks that can give complex answers and help the integration process of women who have arrived in Italy over the last few years."

Cultural mediator Yvette Samnick, who works for anti-violence center Roberta Lanzino in Cosenza, and her colleague Cynthia Aygbe, who works for Cooperativa E.V.A. in Caserta, noted that anti-violence centers in many areas "still have a difficult time when they ask to be introduced to women" in migrant hosting facilities.

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