What do we offer to our clients?
The aim of social counselling is to assist women and their children solve the situation of violence from the husband/partner/father through setting up a plan of social work that respects the decisions and pace set by the client. The goal of the plan is to achieve independence from violence for the woman and her children.
We provide basic and specialised counselling through on-site and terrain work. Aside from in-person counselling we also provide it through phone or email.
The aims of social assistance are:
• Helping our client and her children in seeking adequate help when solving the issue of violence
• Helping our client communicate with her surrounding and express her needs through observation and communication trainin
• Strengthening the self-confidence of the client, her belief in her own competence and her ability to lead an independent, comfortable life free of violence
Crisis intervention and support
The aim of crisis intervention is to provide immediate specialised help to women and children. We aim to reduce the danger to women and children through immediate intervention during and after a crisis – during and after an attack. Crisis support helps women and children in crisis to handle their situation by being firmly on the side of the woman and her children.
The aim of psychological counselling is helping clients and their children process experienced trauma, support clients and their children, rebuild and help rediscover their self-worth and ability to lead an independent life free of violence. The aim is also to help women process the aftermath of violence by helping women navigate the steps to deal with violence (such as preparing for court hearings).
For clients who feel they do not have the raising of their children firmly in hand or for whom we observe serious issues in handling parental responsibilities we offer a therapeutic programme called “Reconstructing the mother-child relationship” which clients participate in together with their children. This programme seeks to help revitalise their relationship and help them find each other again. Violence from the father also affects the relationship between mother and child and both must deal with the new situation and conditions, as well as rebuild boundaries and trust in their relationship.
Support groups aim to provide emotional support, maintain participants’ social identity, provide education and information about the problem, provide a supportive environment, and provide social inclusion. Support groups are an opportunity to share experiences, help and support each other and, above all, to empower women and children by emphasising that you are not alone.
Legal counsel and representation
The aim of providing legal assistance to women and children experiencing violence is to help address the complex situation of violence in a comprehensive way. A qualified legal counsellor looks at the situation of violence in which a woman with children finds herself through the lens of legal proceedings. We provide our clients with free legal advice and legal representation in matters of regulation of rights and obligations of parents to minor children, in changes of this regulation, in matters of divorce, regulation of rights and obligations of parents to minor children after divorce, in ordering urgent measures in entrustment to personal care and orders of alimony for a minor child, in order of spousal alimony and in the determination of alimony for an adult child, in urgent measures in cases of restraining orders, in case of exclusion from using a shared apartment, settlement of spouses’ shared ownership, in recovering amount owed in alimony,, in criminal proceedings, in matters of inheritance, land, labour and law enforcement, etc.
Temporary accommodation in MyMamy Safe Women’s House
With regard to Western European trends, but also the specifics of the project thanks to which the MyMamy Safe Women’s House was established, the emergency housing facility is at a publicly known address. This service is provided for a fee that is charged according to the price list and in accordance with the contract for the provision of services and accommodation. The facility has a total capacity of 35 people (max. 11 women and 24 children), including a family place for the immobile.
The provision of accommodation in emergency housing facilities is one of the services that is comprehensively aimed at empowering clients and their children to be able to start a new independent life without violence. In this specialised facility with comprehensive services and support, after leaving violent men – partners and fathers, women and their children are given the opportunity to deal with the traumas they have experienced. In an environment where they are safe and do not have to deal with existential problems such as a roof over their head or food they have the space to find the strength and courage to start again, to take the necessary steps for their new independent life without violence.
Counselling for victims of crime in the form of specialised professional assistance to a particularly vulnerable victim
This is a new service that our organisation, as part of the constant expansion of its portfolio of assistance for our target group – women experiencing violence in partner relationships and their children – has been providing since May 2018 thanks to granted accreditation. MyMamy is therefore currently authorized to provide assistance to victims of the crime of torture of a close and entrusted person in the districts of Prešov and Sabinov. During 2018 we provided this service alongside legal services by a professional counsellor and a psychologist for children, as they were mostly child victims.
Women who have been on maternity leave for a long time due to multiple maternities, those with lower education or minor children who need part-time work often have difficulty finding employment because they are discriminated against in the labour market. However, financial resources are necessary for a new, independent start without financial dependence. In addition to helping process all forms for financial assistance that clients are entitled to but lack (housing allowance, parental allowance,…) we try to help return those interested into the labour market and thus help them ensure an independent household.
Short-term child care
In the event that the client has any hearings, bureaucratic arrangements, medical treatments or similar serious and immediate duties our clients have the opportunity to leave their children to the staff who will take care of them.
Support of parental competencies
Although this activity should not be part of our work, because our facility assumes that the women who are accommodated with us are independent and can take full care of their children, it happens that we find a very low level of parental responsibility in some of them. These can be related to lower mental capacity, poor family background and sometimes a weak emotional attachment to the child. In the event that we find something like this in an accommodated client, we often try to teach her to run her household and take care of her children beyond the scope of our work, from setting up a family budget to changing diapers.
What do we offer to our clients’ children?
If violence is present in the household, even if it does not directly affect the child, it still has a significant impact on them. It affects their self-perception and psychological development, but also the perception of the surrounding world and their behaviour. Children who come to us from violent relationships are angry at everything and everyone – at the father, because he is violent, at the mother, because she did not free them from the violent household sooner, but also at themself, because smaller children in particular very often see the culprit for the situation in the family in themselves. They run away from reality, they try to change it, make light of it, they feel that no one sees them and no one understands them. Older children fall into depression, seek escape in the form of alcohol, drugs, various dubious gangs. Younger children tend to return to a lower level of development or stagnate, they do not understand the situation and get used to blaming themselves for everything. Meetings with a child psychologist take place naturally, in a non-violent form of games and leisure activities, and during them the child has the space to talk about their bad experiences, fears and trauma and get the feeling that someone cares about them.
Throughout the year, children living at the Safe Women’s House participated in hippotherapy twice a month. It helps coordination of body movements, gross motor skills, strengthens their muscle tone and improves their balance. Proper sitting on a horse also eliminates spinal scoliosis. Psychologically, it helps release positive emotions.
The children experienced that sitting on a horse in a bad mood means the horse will feel it too and behave in the same way. However, if the child is relaxed, the horse is also relaxed and the cooperation between the two is more successful. Thanks to this type of therapy, children learn the basics of animal care and responsibility and acquire the basic work habits that horse care requires.
Special pedagogical tutoring
Almost all children who grew up in a violent relationship have more or less serious behavioural problems, and cognitive symptoms resulting from violence are often present. Delayed speech development is often present in these children and they often have problems with concentration and memory, which affects their school performance. Children – both accommodated and external – therefore have individual lessons available with our special pedagogues.
What preventive activities do we carry out?
Preventive activities are focused on primary prevention in secondary schools and in the countryside, where using teaching materials and documentaries, MyMamy conducts discussions focused on the topic of gender equality and its connection with gender-based violence. At the same time, we have long been dedicated to providing sensitizing training in the field of violence against women and gender equality for cooperating organizations – professionals who can meet women who experience violence in partner relationships and their children.
In addition to preventive activities organized within schools and the countryside, we implement (e.g. FemFest) and participate (e.g. 16 days of activism against violence against women) in campaigns, which aim, among other things, to raise awareness of the general public about the issue of violence in partner relationships, its consequences and impacts on women and children.
We consider prevention to be one of the ways to approach the ideal state of zero tolerance of violence in society, which is the only way to effectively stop violence in the private sphere.