These cities that act against gender-based violence

Nearly 213,000 women were victims of physical and/or sexual domestic violence in 2020, according to the National Observatory on Violence Against Women. Not to mention all those who are threatened or abused in the public space. A reality that leads some cities to make their citizens more secure during urban travel, but also to better coordinate and improve their support. Examples.

Strasbourg: 74 real homes

Anxious to provide real care for victims of gender-based violence, the municipality of Strasbourg developed, in the summer of 2020, 74 accommodation places for these women. “And their children, insists Christelle Wieder, deputy mayor, in charge of women’s rights and gender equality. These are essentially places of stabilization. That is to say places where they can rebuild themselves, with the help of associations, for a long time, between six months and a year. » This is a springboard for them to then find their own accommodation, a job, to build a new life”she explains.

The city has partnered with three local structures specializing in supporting female victims of violence, who expressed a strong need for real accommodation. Because, “Very often, they are directed to remote hotel rooms, difficult to access, sometimes unsanitary, where it is difficult for them to cook, to live with their children. And they don’t always get it, far from it, overnight. They are suddenly forced to stay at home and turn their backs, always under the threat of violence., notes Christelle Wieder. A unbearable reality” which Strasbourg has decided to put an end to, by covering the rent for real accommodation as well as the social support provided by the associations. She spends half a million euros a year on it.

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Montreuil: a specific coordination unit

A network of actors working on the issue of violence against women has been set up in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis). Within this group of associations and city services, a coordination unit for responses to victims was set up in 2018 by the city. “The objective is that all the players concerned in our territory can immediately coordinate »notes Patrice Bessac, mayor of Montreuil.

Any woman who comes forward is quickly contacted by a listening unit made up of a psychologist, a social worker and marriage and family counsellors. This structure collects his words, informs him and sends, with his consent, his report, anonymously, to the coordination and processing unit. “Very useful in complex situations, this device, assures the mayor, made it possible to speed up the long-term rehousing of a certain number of victims. »

Bordeaux: engaged bars, restaurants and shops

The city launched, a year ago, the “ask for Angela” device, inspired by the United Kingdom, for which it has established partnerships with bars-restaurants and shops. “The goal, explains Amine Smihi, deputy in charge of prevention, delinquency and security, is to allow women who are threatened or victims to have a place of refuge, night and day. And then to listen to him, to accompany him, even to help him in a complaint procedure. »

Identifiable by a purple sticker stuck at the entrance or on their window, all the partner establishments have a referent. The latter takes charge of the person, takes them to a safe place, away from noise and the world, reassures them, listens to them, by offering them water, a coffee, and possibly a solution to be accompanied home safely. He calls, if necessary, the police at the number specifically dedicated to this device.

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Bars, restaurants, clubs, hairdressers, shoe stores, museums… the network already has eighty reception areas. “We still want to extend the territorial network, so that this system becomes a real public service”, emphasizes Claudine Bichet, deputy mayor, in charge of finance, the climate challenge and gender equality.

Sainte-Luce-sur-Loire: a landmark and accessible person

In Loire-Atlantique, the municipality of Sainte-Luce-sur-Loire has chosen, in 2020, to appoint an intra-family violence referent. His role is not only to coordinate the actions to be implemented, but above all to act as a resource person for the victims. “The objective is not to offer long-term support because we have dedicated structures in our area. The difficulty for victims is often to find the right interlocutor according to their needs”explains the referent, Fabienne Riou.

This one receives the women, determines with them where they are and what their needs are. It then establishes a gateway to the partners likely to support them. And, this, by calling herself and helping to make an appointment with the privileged interlocutor she has in each structure. Fabienne Riou remains available if the victims are not yet ready to take action during the first contact.

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Paris: multidisciplinary reception centers

To improve the pathway and care for victims of violence, the Paris City Hall has helped the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) to create Women’s Centers, places of reception, listening, care, and guidance. The first was launched in November 2021 in Bichat, the second a month later at Pitié-Salpêtrière, the third in January 2022 at Hôtel-Dieu and a fourth is planned in Bicêtre.

“The idea is to have a single reception area where the team, multidisciplinary, can help women for everything, explains Anne Souyris, deputy mayor, in charge of health, risk prevention and relations with the AP-HP. The hospital sector is rather reassuring and preserves medical secrecy. » After a reception interview, the victim can benefit from a personalized care pathway, psychological, legal and judicial support, the possibility of filing a complaint on the spot, assistance in finding accommodation and participating in collective activities (talk groups, psycho-corporal workshops, self-esteem, etc.).

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This file is produced on the occasion of the first national meetings to combat gender-based violence organized by the city of Nantes and Nantes Métropole.


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