Meral Akinci, First Lady of Northern Cyprus, was visionary when she established the women’s charity KAYAD. The charity supports women dealing with domestic abuse and also provides them with essential skills. Thanks to funding from the European Union, project leader Mine Atli was able to put in place essential training for those public agencies that come into contact with domestic abuse victims and survivors.
The police received a two day course which helped them appreciate the rights of women not to live in an environment of fear and violence. They were able to see the difference they can make in changing perpetrator behaviour and in protecting vulnerable victims.
Following on from this, health workers to include psychiatrists, G.P’s, nurse and ambulance workers, received training where common principles of handling cases of domestic abuse were covered with the specific emphasis on knowing how to spot signs, as well as how to develop support.
The training programme was completed with training for lawyers which explored the reasons why women stay in abusive relationships, how to develop safety plans and delivering the best possible justice.
Some of the cases provided during the three courses were harrowing and challenging, providing delegates with the opportunity to explore attitudes, beliefs and the cultural challenges that prevent these key services from meeting the needs of victims. Delegates left committed to protecting women from ongoing and further harm and each public service could see how they could make changes to improve the service they give to women.