The Republic of Moldova doesn’t have a coordinated community response to cases of sexual violence. In some cases, the survivors of violence receive legal and psychological assistance during the legal trial, during the investigation, hearing and sample collection. There are also cases when the criminal investigation body or the doctors refer the person who went through violence to civil society organizations or assistance centers for women and children suffering of domestic violence. However, these actions are incomplete, sporadic and uncoordinated.
The specialists in the field of anti-violence say that we are witnessing an iceberg phenomenon when it comes to sexual violence. The cases of rape that are accounted for are only a drop of how many crimes are actually taking place. That is why it is so necessary to elaborate and implement a community-coordinated response to cases of sexual violence, which would encourage and increase the trust that the victims have in the system.
To better understand the willingness of the professional community and decision-makers from some districts of the country, we asked several specialists what it would be like to collaborate as a team, focusing on the victim’s trauma. The encouraging reactions of the professionals and LPA representatives from Cahul and Ungheni are collected in a video interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJAXb8VeIog (video is available in Romanian).
Dionisie Ternovschi, Deputy Mayor of Ungheni, states that the purpose of community centers for victims of rape comes precisely from the need of providing these people with services that focus on the trauma they went through: So that women, or whoever went through violence, know that there is a place where they will be heard. A place where you can come, and you have guaranteed safety. That everything you say will be absolutely confidential.
On the other hand, because of the sensitivity of the subject and the erroneous stereotypical attitudes towards victims of sexual abuse, many victims don’t even know that they have the right to get help, says Tatiana Romaniuc, Deputy Mayor of Cahul – That is why, indeed, it is very necessary to have an institution with clear prerogatives and qualified specialists who can focus on helping victims of sexual violence, concludes the Deputy Mayor of Cahul.
The collaboration between IC La Strada and UN Women Moldova within the EVA Project ‘Promoting gender equality in the Cahul and Ungheni districts’ also involves organizing a series of trainings for the specialists who interact with the people affected by sexual violence.
During April, several doctors, psychologists, managers of health centers and youth friendly centers from Ungheni and Cahul participated in seminars intended to improve the response of the medical and social systems to cases of sexual violence. Also during April, over 20 police officers, prosecutors and representatives of police inspectorates’ management were guided and informed about the principles of investigation focused around the needs of the victim.
The coordinated community response to cases of sexual violence involves a multi-disciplinary, cross-sector approach, sensitive to the needs of the survivors of violence. International practices confirm the efficiency of services implemented in various states both at local and national level. A tight collaboration between the criminal investigation officer, gynecologist, forensic doctor, social worker, lawyer and psychologist is beneficial for the health and security of community members. It is very useful in the process of accountability of the offenders who committed the acts of sexual violence.
The trainings and the information and awareness materials for decision-makers within the Denim Day Moldova campaign are organized and elaborated by International Center ‘La Strada’ within the project EVA ‘Promoting gender equality in the Cahul and Ungheni districts’, financed by European Union and implemented by UN Women in partnership with UNICEF, as per the Collaboration Agreement with UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment). The views and opinions expressed here belong to the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the point of view of UN Women, UNICEF, or the European Union.