The Presence in Albania, in partnership with the State Police and the Elbasan municipality, launched on 20 October a three-day campaign against domestic violence in Elbasan, with the participation of the deputy ministers of interior and social welfare and youth, the mayor of Elbasan and the general director of the State Police.
The Head of the Presence in Albania noted that, according to an INSTAT survey from 2013, nearly 60 per cent of Albanian women surveyed have been the victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives, while 53 per cent were “currently” in an abusive relationship.Only 8 per cent of these women sought help.
He stated that domestic violence cannot be addressed through legal means alone and that the mentality that accepts violence against women and children must be changed. The programme included several awareness-raising activities involving high school students, citizens and police officers on domestic violence phenomena and ways to counter it.
On 21 October, a discussion forum was held between high school students and members of Parliament. The main issues raised by the participants were related to women’s and girl’s education possibilities and their economic empowerment, shelters for victims of violence, and difficulties faced in rural areas.
The event followed a similar successful campaign organised earlier this year in Korça, where, following several months of engagement and training by the Presence in Albania, local authorities stated that more women seem to be reaching out for help.
This series of campaigns is supported by the Swedish government and the Gender Alliance for Development Centre. The Presence in Albania will continue the campaign in select areas throughout the country in 2015.