Closing conference organised by the OSCE Transnational Threats Department/Strategic Police Matters Unit (TNTD/SPMU) of the extra-budgetary project "Effective Criminal Justice Strategies and Practices to Combat Gender-based Violence in Eastern Europe."
The main objective of the conference is to bring together key stakeholders active in the project implementation from the three beneficiary countries: Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. Government officials (from law enforcement agencies, judicial authorities and victim protection services), civil society representatives and researchers will discuss the achievements, assess the outcomes and draw lessons from the project implementation. Further on, they will identify ways forward to combat gender-based violence in the region.
The main findings and outcomes of the conference will be compiled and included in a Key Findings and Outcomes – The Way Forward report. This report will consist of all project materials, key findings and outcomes and a set of recommendations, as a way forward.
The conference language will be English only.
Background and rationale
Gender-based violence is one of the most serious and pervasive human rights violations that not only affects the personal safety and security of victims, but also prevents their full individual and societal development. Due to shortcomings in the criminal justice system to respond to these forms of violence, such as shortcomings in police response, ineffective restraining orders, legal and policy gaps, many victims of gender-based violence are at risk of further abuse. Negative public perception of the quality of criminal justice system’s response also leads to a lack of trust in the criminal justice system and consequently to underreporting of cases of gender-based violence.
The OSCE Strategic Framework for Police-Related Activities (PC.DEC/1049) defines the promotion of protection of victims of crime, particularly of violent crime and vulnerable victims, as a priority area of the OSCE’s police-related activities. The two OSCE Ministerial Council Decisions on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women (MC.DEC/15/05 and MC.DEC/07/14) recommend participating States to enhance measures to prevent violence, protect and assist victims and improve data collection. The 2004 Gender Action Plan tasks the OSCE Secretariat, OSCE Institutions and its Field Operations to assist participating States in developing programmes and activities aimed at the prevention of all forms of GBV.
The Transnational Threats Department/Strategic Police Matters Unit (TNTD/SPMU), in partnership with the Institute for Police Education at Linnaeus University (the Institute) and in co-ordination with the OSCE Gender Section and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has developed this project, in its efforts to address common challenges in fighting gender-based violence.
With the financial support of the European Commission through the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020) and the governments of Germany and Austria, the project was implemented between 2018 and 2020 in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
The objective of the project was to enhance the responsiveness, professional knowledge, skills and technical capacities of criminal justice practitioners, in particular first responder police officers, investigators and prosecutors in addressing gender-based violence, thus contributing to an increased public trust in the criminal justice system response and subsequently an expected higher level of reported cases.
In order to achieve this objective, the project focused on the promotion of information exchange and sharing of best practices of investigations, identifications and prosecutions of cases, and enhancing effective co-operation between all relevant agencies involved. This was achieved through the set-up of national Steering Committees, Working Groups and Reference Groups, the development and delivery of a regional Training of Trainers, followed by national specialized trainings for criminal justice practitioners; and a regional awareness-raising campaign, targeting both criminal justice system actors and potential victims of gender-based violence.