Amount: 15 000 EUR 

Duration: 12 months (01.08.2021. - 01.08.2022.) 

SAFE + FREE IN LATGALE focuses on supporting victims of domestic and gender-based violence. MARTA Center (since 2001) is the only one organisation in Latvia, which focus on the needs of women and supports victims of gender based or domestic violence. Every year at least 300-400 women receives our help in Riga and Liepaja (since 2017). As a response to increasing domestic violence, especially in the regions, MARTA Centre established branch last year in Rezekne, Latgale. According to the data of Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia 40,4% (2019) and 35.5% (2020) citizens of Latgale are at risk of poverty. Here is also a high unemployment – 16,2% (comp. with Latvia's capital city Riga – 6%1). Women in Latgale are characterized by low-skilled and low-salaried employment or unemployment at all, insufficient state language knowledge, risk of poverty, low education, unpaid housework. Women are in socially and economically vulnerable situations. They depend on their husbands or intimate partners. It causes inequality, which in most of cases grows into abusive relationships and domestic violence. Furthermore, Latgale is the EU Eastern borderline with Russia and Belarus. Here is a lot of political and cultural impact from neighbours (corruption, bossing and mobbing, censorship among local municipalities), and it means that here we should strengthen democratic values and equality in society. 

This project would help us: 
1. to support at least 20-50 our women to end the cycle of violence -- research have shown that majority of domestic victims will try to leave an abusive partner 7-12 times before they succeed, so continual supportive communication with a social worker is especially important during pandemic and social distancing period. It is very challenging to provide safe and immediate help in the cases with high lethality therefore it is necessary to strengthen MARTA Centre  Rezekne inner capacity for better specialist performance while supporting women in life dangoures situations. 

2. to give a chance at least 25-50 women in a need to participate in domestic violence survivors supporting groups online (two groups – one in Latvian language, the second one in Russian for native Russian speakers). 

3. to raise awareness about gender-based and domestic violence as the problem in region and educate local society (victims and survivors, their relatives, friends, and other supporters) about violence and how to recognize and to assist (informative campaign in two languages SAFE+FREE, informative materials will be published on social media, webpages, and local newspapers). 

4. to ensure safe escape from life dangerous situations by offering the opportunity to hide from abuser and to be at safe place (up to 3 months). prop up long term wellbeing, social responsibility, importance of human rights and integration in Latgale region. 

 Supported by the King Baudouin Foundation