Through the data collection, both quantitative and qualitative information about the women was collected in an ethical way, based on their clear consent to providing the information. The results show victims in a highly vulnerable situation with often stressful and even traumatic experiences in their past, but also great resilience and an ability to benefit from the support provided. Among the most crucial messages are the need to work in a flexible, sensitive and victim-centred manner, to ensure the necessary time and peace for the victims to both go through their past experiences if they feel the need for it, and to focus on the present and future, on the resilience of the women and on thinking of ways forward. Another key message is the importance of supporting the counsellors in their important but difficult task. Both collegial support, possibilities of sharing experiences and solutions as well as supervision were referred to as important ways of ensuring the wellbeing of the counsellors.
”You hear my concern and help me think of solutions”
This is feedback given by many of the women victims of gender-based violence who receive legal and psychosocial consultation in the EU-funded SARAH project. The counsellors work for the partner NGOs Solwodi (Germany), Greek Refugee Council (Greece), Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati (Italy), and Puijola Setlementti (Finland) and the project is coordinated by The European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, Affiliated with the United Nations; HEUNI. The key messages derived through collecting direct feedback from both the women themselves as well as the counsellors are presented in the SARAH policy brief.