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“Orange Week” at the University

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Publié le jeudi 29 novembre 2018

The University joined the national “Orange Week” campaign, from 19 to 23 November, to support the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and to raise awareness of one of the most widespread and mainly underreported human rights violations.

A series of events was organised during this week, under the auspices of the Ministry of Equal Opportunities, le Conseil National des Femmes du Luxembourg, and Zonta International.

On 19 and 20 November, two roundtables took place: the first one on violence about people in care with Jutta Gansemer (Erzéiongs-A familljeberodung) and Lisa Clees-Schiltz (University of Luxembourg) and a second one about violence and sexuality with Enrica Pianaro (Cigale) and Danièle Maraite (Planning familial).

On Wednesday 21 November, a PhD Colloquium focused on Violence Against Women and three related PhD projects were presented:

  • “Long-term consequences of early life adversity (REJECT)” (Violetta Schaan),
  • “Mental health and wellbeing during adolescence: The role of child attachment and parents' representations of their children (ATTACH)”; (Alessandro Decarli),
  • “Family Violence Curricula in Europe (FAVICUE)” and “E-DOVER: an e-learning programme to improve primary care professionals’ responses to domestic violence” (Raquel Gómez Bravo).

On Thursday 22 November, the Hôpitaux Robert Schuman celebrated the anniversary of its child and adolescent outpatient clinic with an event that focused on resilience.

Friday 23 November concluded the University’s awareness week. As part of the “NGO Day”, nine NGOs working on the field of violence presented their activities and engaged with the University community at the Maison du Savoir. PhD students were invited to participate in a session by Irmgard Schroeder on “Supporting women in research”.

Introducing the Forum on Violence Against Women

Finally, the first Forum on Violence Against Women took place at the Luxembourg Learning Centre on Friday. By bringing together different stakeholders and professionals involved in fighting for violence against women, the discussion offered a panorama of possibilities for strengthening the care for the families in the region.

The Forum was inaugurated by Lydia Mutsch, Minister of Equal Opportunities, Vice-rector Prof. Tonie Van Dam, and Prof. Christine Schiltz, Vice-dean of the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education. They underlined the devastating numbers of gender violence around the world, as well as the importance of raising awareness and advancing dialogue by hosting such initiatives at the University.

The Forum included two panels:

The first panel addressed children and adolescents witnessing violence against women. Panel members included Pia Mayer (Office national de l’enfance), Paul Kremer (ALUPSE-Dialogue), Laurence Bouquet (Riicht Eraus - Croix-Rouge luxembourgeoise), Céline Gérard (PSYea) and Dr Leo Pas (WONCA, Special Interest Group on Family Violence of the World Organization of Family Doctors).

They evoked the importance of approaching these children and adolescents in an appropriate and timely manner, explained the importance of adopting an integrated care approach, and highlighted the necessity to care for the whole family, including perpetrators. Barriers and challenges at a national and international level were also explored.

The second panel specifically focused on violence against women. Valgerdur Gunnarsdottir (European Commission, Directorate General for Health and Food Safety) reported on the numbers of this epidemic problem and the health consequences across Europe. Dr Sara Rigon (Médecins Sans Frontières) addressed cultural relativism and the impact of violence against women in society, while Danielle Becker-Bauer (Zonta Luxembourg) underlined the role of empowering women. Andree Birnbaum (Femmes en Détresse) described the care provided in their services and how to manage acute situations.

Moreover, Dr Thorsten Schward (UMEDO, Laboratoire national de santé) explained the forensic procedures in the case of aggression or rape, in which the victim needs to have evidence, and how this is carried out by the 24-hour service of UMEDO. The necessity of an integrated model of care for the families, the revictimisation of the victims occurring when asked to repeat their story several times, and the ways to increase the efficacy of the system were among the topics of the debate that followed. The role of proper education of the health workers was also emphasised. Several examples of integrated care were presented from different countries, including the European Family Justice Center Alliance model.