Silence Hurts

Mlčení bolí_Roman Šebrle (1)

The domestic violence phenomenon is surrounded by myths, a high level of social tolerance as well as an insufficient number of qualified professionals.

Last year, eighteen intervention centers in the Czech Republic provided help to a total of 4695 victims of physical, psychological, sexual, economic and social abuse. According to the Association of Intervention Centers in the Czech Republic, the groups most at risk are married and unmarried couples between the ages of 27 and 40. The number of abuse cases between adult children and parents, as well as abuse against senior citizens is rising. Despite the Czech police removing a total of 1382 individuals in 2014, cases are still arising where the police are unable to appropriately judge the situation within the family and the abusive individual is not removed. Under-age children often remain unprotected, sometimes they are forced by courts to stay in touch with the abusive individuals, or they are even put into their care. A number of institutions still do not know how to treat victims of domestic violence, where to send them or how to help them.

The Intervention Center Worker’s Association of the Czech Republic – ICWA (Asociace pracovníků intervenčních center ČR) is currently running a project, which aims to improve the practice of prevention, identification and removal of domestic violence via vocational specialization. “By the means of a national campaign entitled SILENCE HURTS, we want to confront the myths and break through the taboo surrounding domestic violence. Our aim is to inform the general public about the mission of intervention centers as well as to initiate an interdisciplinary discussion on the subject of improving the support for people in danger of experiencing domestic violence in the Czech Republic,” stated the chairwoman of ICWA, MA Martina Vojtiskova. Part of this project is extensive sociological research amongst professionals and users of services designed to help victims, which is focused on mapping out options to help resolve cases of domestic violence. ICWA is also preparing educational applications aimed for workers within institutions interested in these problems as well as preparing to publish popular instructive books about domestic violence in the Czech Republic.

The SILENCE HURTS campaign has been supported by a number of well-known individuals. Actress Michaela Kuklová, Jitka Schneiderová, Ilona Svobodová and Michaela Maurerová, singer Bára Basiková, actor David Suchařípa and Olympian Roman Šebrle are examples of those who kindly lent their faces to the campaign. The patronage of the project has been undertaken by Miluse Horska, the vice-chairwoman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.