"The Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) and Women against Violence Europe (WAVE) commend the European Parliament for passing the resolution on undocumented migrant women in the European Union.
The plenary session of the European Parliament today voted on a resolution on ‘Undocumented Women Migrants in the European Union’. The motion for this resolution came from an own-initiative report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). Prepared by rapporteur Norica Nicolai (ALDE, Romania), the resolution calls on national and European authorities to ensure that a woman’s immigration status does not prevent her from accessing decent housing, healthcare, and education, and to safeguard access to justice for those experiencing violence and exploitation.
While it is regretful that some key recommendations were not passed such as a call for member states to ratify the UN Convention on Migrant Workers and the need to increase legal and social assistance for undocumented women, the resolution marks an important step regarding the need to protect undocumented women’s rights in Europe.
Across the EU, undocumented women face significant barriers to access to support, services and justice. Because immigration control is often given priority to their needs as victims, they risk severe reprisals when contacting the police. As a consequence, female victims of violence are detained and deported, while their perpetrators remain unpunished. This protection gap means that perpetrators of violence against women can actually threaten their victims with the police.
When she became undocumented in Sweden, Miriam (33) found herself in a chain of abuse that was impossible to break. She was turned away from the local women’s shelter and lived in fear of the police. Her irregular status meant that she could be abused with impunity.
“He hit me and wanted to kill me, I could not go to the police because I have no papers. He said ‘if you leave me, I will call the police, you are a case for the police’. It was a very bad situation for me”,
The resolution recommends that member states now delink the prosecution of violence from immigration control so that all victims can safely report crimes. To ensure undocumented women are not turned away in their time of need, violence against women shelters are encouraged to waive requirements that women provide documentation. Finally, access to healthcare and education should be upheld, there should be no reporting of children of undocumented migrants.
The resolution marks an important recognition that all women should be able to access justice regardless of their residence status."
APAV and GNR (the National Republican Guard) signed on the 20th of December, in the General Command of GNR, Headquarters of Carmo, in Lisbon, a Cooperation Agreement with the aim of regulate and formalize direct and reciprocal cooperation between the two entities, in an effort to improve the conditions to better support, assist, inform and protect victims of crime. The GNR was represented by its General Commander, Lieutenant General Newton Parreira, and João Lázaro represented APAV as President of the Board.
The enhancement of the cooperation between these two institutions aims at, among other things, establish best practices as models of action to be applied in what concerns information to victims of crime and referral to victim support after the first contact of victims with the police; set up a referral system of the victims of crime that contact GNR to APAV’s victim support schemes complying with the applicable legal provisions; participation of the organisations in each other’s training programs, both as trainers and as trainees; mutual cooperation in actions and projects in the field of victim support developed by each of the institutions, including studies and seminars and projects co-financed by both national and European fund lines; regular technical support, according to the needs felt and the logistic and technical capacities; sharing of relevant information in terms of victim support and cooperation in situations of psychosocial support to victims of crime, terrorist attacks, serious accidents, catastrophes, national disaster and other critical incidents.
In order to promote the rights of victims of crime, APAV launched the website infovictims.com.
This website was presented during the Infovictims Seminar, that took place at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, past September.
The new site infovictims.com aims to inform dynamically and interactively the rights of victims of crime. There were developed two versions of the website, in English (infovictims.com) and Portuguese (infovitimas.pt).
The website was developed under the Infovictims Project, promoted by APAV and co-financed by the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Commission.
One of the EUCPN's main tasks is to arrange an annual conference for sharing and disseminating experience and knowledge of best practices in preventing crime and increasing safety and security in EU Member States. The conference is always held in connection with the European Crime Prevention Award (ECPA) contest.
Policymakers, practitioners and researchers from all EU Member States, candidate countries and relevant organisations are usually present at the conference.
The conference consists of lectures and seminars and one important element is to present and discuss the projects nominated for the ECPA contest each year.
The theme for the 2013 ECPA and BPC is "Prevention of domestic violence". The EPCA and the BPC will take place between 10 and 12 December in Lithuania, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
"After thirteen years of operating in the city centre, the Portuguese Victim Support Association’s (APAV) Albufeira branch of is now located in new facilities conceded by the local council.
APAV Albufeira’s new office is located in the Habijovem urbanisation, where it will continue to receive and counsel victims of crime, abuse and violence of all ages and walks of life.
Over the past 13 years the Albufeira Victim Support Office has provided support in 2,470 cases; last year alone it attended 453 people who turned to it for help, the majority of whom were the victims of crime.
Its new facilities were inaugurated last Wednesday and counted on the presence of Albufeira Mayor José Carlos Rolo, and the president of APAV João Lázaro.
“These facilities meet an old aspiration to better serve the community of Albufeira, more specifically the victims of crime and abuse. This space will allow us to increase our number of volunteers and, consequently, help more people with regards to preventing and intervening post-crime” João Lázaro said.
He also revealed that APAV is looking to develop a pilot project with the Albufeira GNR police force to offer support to tourists who are the victims of crime.
APAV has been operating in Albufeira since 2000 following a protocol that was signed between the association, the local council, and the GNR. It is a registered private social welfare association (IPSS) that has as its main mission supporting the victims of crime, their families and friends by offering free and confidential quality services.
Since its founding the association has noted a significant rise in the number of people resorting to its services of emotional, psychological, legal and social support, taking care of some 220 processes per year, involving some 500 people including various authorities such as the PSP police, GNR police and the CPCJ child protection committee."
Source: The Portugal News