Within the framework of the “Future is a Woman” project, funded by UNHCR – Bulgaria, we had the opportunity to conduct a survey among the refugee community, regarding gender-based violence. Despite widespread public attention, this topic is still a real challenge, and data on actual cases of domestic or sexual violence are extremely difficult to collect for a number of reasons. This is especially true for Bulgaria and even more so for the refugee community.
This research will allow us to develop a precise field of action to enable victims of gender-based violence to be better cared for and protected as we strive to reduce cases.
To begin with, the survey reveals the great difficulty of respondents in making sense of the key concepts that would allow everyone, and especially people in vulnerable situations such as refugees, asylum seekers and beneficiaries of temporary protection, to be safe from committing such acts. The concept of gender-based violence and consent must be the subject of extensive awareness-raising work to allow each person to maintain their full dignity, exercise their freedom and realize their right to refuse.
Survey participants expressed a strong desire for more action to be taken to address violence, including greater involvement of the judiciary and law enforcement. The need for preventive measures, which must cover schools at the state level, is also clearly outlined in order to achieve a cultural change in the relations between people.