Mobile support teams began reaching out to women victims of violence in Zaporizhya oblast

On December 9, 2015, Zaporizhya oblast hosted a round-table discussion on “Gender-based violence in situations of military conflict in the east of Ukraine: Challenges and tools for counteraction”. During the meeting, representatives of government, public and charitable organizations discussed the challenge of escalated violence against women and girls in the eastern Ukraine, as well as presented mechanisms for combating this phenomenon.

A recent surge in cases of gender-based violence in the regions most affected by the hostilities. That is why the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Ukraine has initiated a large-scale humanitarian project “Combating gender-based violence in the east of Ukraine” in 5 regions: Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhya.
Igor Meschan, Director of the Department for Social Protection of Zaporizhya oblast State Administration, Elena Kochemyrovska, a senior coordinator for humanitarian response in eastern regions of Ukraine, UN Population Fund in Ukraine, Oksana Ponikarova, director of Zaporizhya oblast center of social services for families, children and youth, Olga Ivanenko, chief specialist of the division of family and children, department of social protection of the population, oblast state administration, Volodymyr Oliynyk, a psychologist of the head department of State Emergency service of Ukraine in Zaporizhya oblast, Victoria Shaposhnikova, head of the division for family and children, Department of social protection of population, Zaporizhya oblast state administration, Evgen Tokarev, a senior inspector on preventive management, National police in Zaporozhzhya oblast, Irina Kuratchenko, director of municipal institution “Zaporizhya oblast center of social and psychological assistance” Zaporizhya oblast Council, Natalia Zaykina, psychologist, Zaporizhya oblast NGO “Association of psychologists and psychiatrists “Interaction” and other officials, functionaries, representatives of NGOs have convened to participate in the round-table meeting.
The round-table was launched by Igor Meschan, Director of the Department for Social Protection of Zaporizhya oblast State Administration: “I would like to note that Zaporizhya oblast has pioneered to assist internally displaced persons. Currently, the issue of gender-based violence is paramount and, of course, requires in-depth consideration by representatives of oblast level authorities, local authorities and the public. The military conflict contributed to the escalation of violence. We have to coordinate joint steps to counteract and prevent most situations of violence. We are grateful to UNFPA for the assistance and we’re confident that our interaction will help us to overcome the issues of violence”.
The project discussed at the round-table outlines a range of activities aimed at assisting the community and the government for providing an effective response to the surge of violence against women. Operational assistance is provided to victims by 21 mobile support teams whose work was organized and coordinated by Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health, each of the teams includes a psychologist and social worker. The team uses a vehicle to respond to various calls and to provide assistance directly on site; 3 mobile support teams operate in Zaporizhya oblast. At the seminars for local physicians held by the Charitable Foundation “Women’s Health and Family Planning,” they are taught how to provide victims of violence with the most effective assistance. Training for journalists, round-tables and wide distribution of printed material implemented by the ICF “Ukrainian Women’s Fund” under the information component of the project, emphasizing the importance of the issue, a clear sequence of actions in a situation of violence, accurate coverage of the subject in the media and collaboration between representatives of civil society and the government to find the most effective methods of interaction in overcoming the challenge. The results of sociological research on the subject will be published in December.
Oksana Ponikarova, Director of Zaporizhya oblast center of social services for families, children and young people: “Mobile support teams were created in our center. Currently, there is a great need to provide assistance in remote areas, so we hope that the number of mobile support teams will be increased. We look forward to expanding the project and its development. We are already seeing the results of our work. ”
While presenting the project, Elena Kochemyrovska, a senior coordinator for humanitarian response in eastern regions of Ukraine, UN Population Fund in Ukraine has said: “The global practice shows that the military conflict mainly affects women and girls, the most vulnerable population. Unfortunately, the issue is often being silenced, particularly due to the disbelief of receiving any assistance. But we hope that with the mobile support teams and newly reformed police the situation will change for the better. We need to strengthen the cooperation of all relevant authorities to effectively combat gender-based violence.
“We have launched a massive information campaign as part of the information component of the project titled “Break the circle”. It includes a campaign on social networks and establishing communication with journalists, holding roundtables, and NGOs activities. All these aspects are mostly aimed at the widest coverage of the public on the challenges related to gender-based violence to provide an algorithm of actions in the event of such a situation or threat. Under the campaign, it is expected to schedule the printing and maximum distribution of materials that contain contact information of mobile support teams and tips on where to go in the event of violence” said Oksana Kvitka, a project coordinator ICF” Ukrainian Women’s Fund. ”
ICF “Ukrainian Women’s Fund” and the Department of Social Protection of Population, Zaporizhya oblast state administration have co-organized the round-table meeting. The event was supported by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Ukraine and the Ministry of Social Policy.
For more information about the project, please contact Oksana Kvitka, project coordinator at ICF “Ukrainian Women’s Fund” by calling + 38 (050) 531 54 82 or e-mail:
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is an international agency for development, which defends the right of every woman, man, and child to live a healthy life in terms of equal opportunities.
UNFPA helps countries use data from the population for the development of national policies and programs to combat poverty, and create conditions that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe to protect young people from HIV infection, so each girl and woman is being treated with respect and dignity and their rights are being honored.
UNFPA works in more than 140 countries and in 40 years it managed to provide more than 6 billion US dollars’ worth of technical assistance to countries.
UNFPA’s work in Ukraine commenced in 1997 with the implementation of several projects in the area of reproductive health and family planning. The first UNFPA Country Program for Ukraine was launched in 2006 and implemented in cooperation with the Government of Ukraine, non-governmental organizations and the academic community. Currently, UNFPA Ukraine focuses on projects in the field of reproductive health, population, and development, gender equality. A priority is given to prevention and tackling of gender-based violence that dramatically escalated due to the military conflict in the east of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Women’s Fund (hereinafter referred to as UWF) is an international charitable organization founded in 2000. UWF provides financial, informational and advisory support to civil society organizations from Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus. The UWF’s mission is to help civil society organizations, specifically women’s civil society organizations, to play an active role in the development of a democratic society, to participate in decision-making at various levels, draw public attention to issues of diversity and gender, to achieve gender equality, justice and implementation of the inalienable rights of human and citizen.