The number of domestic violence cases increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: Freepik.

South Moravia, Nov 30 (BD) – A memorandum on the adoption of quality standards for specialised services for the victims of domestic violence was signed on Tuesday 29 November by South Moravian Governor Jan Grolich, together with IKEA, the NeNa coalition of NGOs, and the Brno-based Magdalenium organisation.

The signing of the Memorandum of Long-Term Cooperation to provide effective, systemic solutions to the issue of domestic and gender-based violence is designed to foster closer cooperation between NGOs and the regional authorities. Any financial costs incurred by the South Moravian Region will be covered by the Department of Social Affairs.

“One of our goals is to change the functioning of existing structures and services so that effective help becomes more accessible and is more precisely targeted,” said Jana Leitnerová, Councillor for Social and Family Policy of the South Moravian Region. “We want to implement training for these services so that they are able to respond to the needs of victims of domestic violence. And we also plan to increase the number of places in specialised safe shelters in the South Moravian Region by at least ten family places by 2024.” 

IKEA, in cooperation with partners, launched the “For a Safe Home” project two years ago. The company has donated almost CZK 4 million for direct assistance to victims of domestic violence, which the NeNa Coalition is helping to target effectively.

Jitka Poláková, director of proFem, which together with Acorus and ROSA forms the NeNa coalition, welcomed the signing of the memorandum. “In the case of the implementation of the rules of care for people experiencing domestic violence, this is the first ever case of cooperation between the region, a private entity, and the nonprofit sector,” she said. “Something that should have been here a long time ago has finally happened, and I consider this step to be very important for us, and especially for the victims of domestic violence, who deserve specialised care. Today’s event is a clear statement that we are not indifferent to the situation of victims of domestic violence, not only in the South Moravian Region, and we want to help them together.”

The fourth signatory is the Brno’s Magdalenium, an organisation which has been providing professional assistance to those who have been exposed to any form of domestic violence for over 20 years.

“We are very happy that this important moment has come,” said Kristína Brtníková, a representative of Magdalenium. “We are happy for our clients, who will perceive this step very sensitively, and it will give them strength to deal with their difficult situations. We have seen an increase in casualties during and after the COVID measures. In particular, the number of acute phone calls has increased. There appeared to be many victims among the elderly as well. Especially senior women started to seek the services of the specialised shelter we run.” 

While the eastern part of the South Moravian Region is sufficiently covered with services to help victims of domestic violence, there are significantly fewer services in the west. Shelter facilities are located throughout the region, ensuring sufficient accessibility for the majority of the population. However, there is only one intervention centre in the region (in Brno) and the availability of services in the border area is insufficient. On the other hand, crisis assistance facilities are located only in the western part of the region, and the service is not sufficiently accessible for a large part of the region’s population.

From 2015 to 2019, the regional branch of the Czech Police recorded a total of 199 cases of abuse of a person living in a shared residence.

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