Purple ribbon cut to open domestic violence counseling center for children and women (9 March 2011)
Skopje, 9 March 2011: Mr Mr. Spiro Ristovski, Deputy Minister of of Labor and Social Policy, Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative, and Mr. Vladimir Todorovik, Mayor of the Municipality of Centar cut a purple ribbon – symbol of the fight against domestic violence - to open a new Counseling Center for Children and Families at Risk of Domestic Violence.
“Domestic violence is a crime to which 10-20 per cent of children are witness. Far too few women and children talk about it. However, keeping silent does not stop the pain or potential long-term effects,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative.
As an arm of the Center for Social Work in Skopje, the counseling center will provide extended hour psychological assistance and counseling services to children and women victims as well as those at risk of domestic violence.
“I hope the services this center offers will help empower women to step out of the shadows of domestic violence and seek the support they and their children need,” continued Mr. Yett.
With UNICEF support, the professionals working in the center – psychologist, psychiatrist and pedagogue – have been fully trained by international experts. They have specialized skills in working with vulnerable children through specifically designed individual and group work.
UNICEF also provided support to refurbish and equip the facility to make it a child-friendly space. The center is equipped with toys, art and craft materials, storybooks and other essentials, to enable the use of different styles of therapy including play, narrative, art and behavioral therapy.
“Both the central and local government and all other stakeholders must work together in order to achieve a comprehensive response to domestic violence,” said Mr. Spiro Ristovski, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy.
Located in the premises of the elementary school “Kole Nedelkovski” in Skopje, in space provided by the Municipality of Centar, the counseling center will be open to the public every working day from 16:00 to 20:00 hours, hours when the school is not in session.
"The services provided in the counseling center will hopefully break the cycle of violence in the family. The Municipality of Center will continue implementing activities aiming at prevention of domestic violence and protection of domestic violence victims, as well as initiatives and projects tackling this issue ," Mr. Vladimir Todorovik, Mayor of the Municipality of Centar.
The center has been opened as part of the UN Joint Programme "Strengthening National Capacities to Prevent Domestic Violence (2008-2011)". Implemented by UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN WOMEN, and WHO, the programme is funded by the Government of the Kingdom of Netherlands and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. So far through the joint programme, the UN has supported hundreds of victims of domestic violence to get access to legal and psychological aid; empowered women to become financially independent; increased the capacities of health and social care professionals; introduced services to treat domestic violence perpetrators and raised public awareness of the issues of domestic violence.