Efus participates in the EUCPN’s Best Practice Conference on the prevention of domestic violence, in Vilnius, Lithuania

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Vilnius, Lithuania, 11-12 December 2013Efus took part in the Best Practice Conference organised by the Lithuanian chair of the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN), on 11 and 12 December 2013, in Vilnius. Focused on the topic of the prevention of domestic violence, this conference offered some 80 participants the opportunity to learn and exchange about projects and organisations working on this theme across Europe.

Two european agencies, the FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency) and EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality), presented  their efforts to provide reliable and sound European data and statistics on the phenomenon of domestic violence. Indeed, a good knowledge of the extent of the issues at stake is an important basis to draw effective EU policies.

Efus was invited to present the recommendations of its member cities included in the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis about the “gender approach and the prevention of violence against women”. Two local practices that illustrate in part these recommendations were also presented: the White Ribbon Campaign of Liege, in Belgium (see article), and the “Training local police” project of Ravenna, in Italy (see practice sheet, members only).

During the two-day meeting, numerous practices and experiences from 18 countries were presented, focused mainly on four aspects: early intervention, mechanisms for victim support, awareness raising, and prevention of reoffending. Panels were chaired by representatives of civil society organisations such as Victim Support Europe (Joao Lazaro, also executive president of APAV in Portugal), and the Confederation of Probation in Europe (John Kwaks, CEP). The debates were moderated by Evaldas Visoskas of the Law Institute of Lithuania.

It has to be noted that a significant number, if not all, of the experiences and projects presented have been led by or partnered with local authorities (some of which are Efus members: Sosnowiec in Poland, Valenciennes in France, and Brno in the Czech Republic…). Undoubtedly, in matters of victim support, prevention of violence against women, and prevention of reoffending, local authorities play a key role in coordinating stakeholders in an effective, reactive and long term chain of partners.