The EMPOWER Project is an innovative and exciting partnership supported and funded by the European Union through the DAPHNE III Programme which aims to combat all forms of violence against women and children.
EMPOWER is an inspirational joining together of organisations from 3 different European regions – Staffordshire in the UK, Presov in Slovakia and Extremadura in Spain, all working to combat domestic and sexual violence in rural communities. At its centre is the goal of contributing to reducing and preventing violence against women. It involves researching and exchanging knowledge and practice, developing new initiatives, and sharing the results of this work in ways that can make a real difference to agencies working on the front line, and most importantly, to victims and survivors.
In the UK the Empower Project is delivered through Staffordshire Women's Aid:
"Staffordshire Women’s Aid is very proud to be part of this European funded partnership, and the opportunity it has given us to gain knowledge in our field. We hope that our partners and
supporters will be inspired by the innovative work of Project EMPOWER and work with us in taking it forward into the future. We believe that with the various outcomes of this project, we will
be able to work together to make a difference to communities in Staffordshire in reducing and preventing Violence against Women and Girls."
Ban Ki moon, when United Nations Secretary General, said that:
"Violence against women continues to persist as one of the most
heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world.
It is a threat to all women, and an obstacle to all our efforts for
development, peace, and gender equality in all societies. Violence
against women is always a violation of human rights; it is always a
crime; and it is always unacceptable. Let us take this issue with the
deadly seriousness that it deserves."
Each year across the UK 3 million women experience some form of violence, and there are many more living with the legacies of abuse experienced in the past.
Violence against Women and Girls includes: domestic violence, rape and sexual violence, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, crimes in the name of honour, trafficking and sexual exploitation. It is mostly committed by men that women know or are in a close relationship with.
The cost of this deep rooted social phenomenon is very high to society. It causes physical damage ranging from death in extreme cases to miscarriages, broken limbs, and cuts and bruises. Women also suffer scarring and physical disability and sexual offences bring the risk of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and forced and forced pregnancies. Violence can also cause lasting psychological damage.
- It is estimated that violence against women costs society £40 billion each year (New Philanthropy Capital).
- The direct cost to the economy of domestic violence alone in England & Wales in one year is £6 billion.
- In addition, the human and emotional cost is estimated at £17 billion (Walby, The Cost of Domestic Violence, 2004).
- The cost of sexual offences in a year is estimated to be £8.46 billion pounds, with each rape costing an estimated £76,000 pounds.
Staffordshire Women's Aid and The European Commission Representation in the UK