This Life Without Violence: Peer Support Groups
Inspired by the learning from our pilot program “Community Responses to Violence Against Women and Children”, we received funding to start a program to address domestic violence. This Life Without Violence (TLWV) takes a multi-pronged approach to reducing the incidence of violence against women and children and its impact on local communities.
“In my family I have six members and I would like to share about my past. We used to experience domestic violence very often; most the time when my husband is drunk he came home and he fought with me. My kids can’t sleep and my neighbors, they can’t sleep also. I have joined with the women’s group for three months. I have learnt how to communicate with my husband and then we reduced the violence. I feel really happy about this” – Community member of Peer Support Group
After selecting Beng Mealea commune (a commune is a group of villages), we conducted community consultations to build our understanding of the challenges facing residents of these communities. (You can read more about this in our May 2018 blog post: PRAs: Preventing Violence Against Women & Children)
Prominent issues identified throughout the commune included low school attendance and high dropout rates, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and a lack of understanding of women’s rights. Of course many of these issues are highly inter-related. The communities themselves identified their lack of knowledge on how to prevent domestic violence and the role of commune leaders in fulfilling their responsibilities as significant challenges.
So,in addition to providing training to establish foundational knowledge and improve responses by local authorities, support groups for victims were established. These provide community-based peer support and are forums to share and communicate information about available support options.
“Today I was happy that I can share my story. Because I hid it for many years. I want all women in my village to attend this meeting because most of them feel shy to share their story to someone because they find it hard to trust. They think people won’t care about their story” – Community member of Peer Support Group