Global Rights for Women brings lessons learned in Minnesota to the world

When Global Rights for Women works with partners around the world to achieve women’s human rights to equality and freedom from violence, we stand on the shoulders of our foremothers here in Minnesota. When we train legal professionals and advocates in Moldova, Lithuania or Serbia we bring Minnesota’s experience of more than 40 years developing and honing laws to protect women and best practices for their implementation.

Coordinated community response (CCR), which is recognized as one of the most important and effective methods for protecting victims of violence and holding perpetrators accountable was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) in Duluth, Minnesota in the 1980s. DAIP continues to spread the word on CCR, conducting trainings throughout the year. CCR which is also known as the Duluth Model or multi-disciplinary teams, brings together key players in law enforcement, criminal justice and other community systems to develop strategies and carry out procedures to prevent and combat domestic violence. In 2014 the Duluth Model won the World Future Council’s Gold Award for the world’s best policy on violence against women.

IMG_2276Research has shown that such a coordinated response is more effective than when systems work in isolation. The value of coordination has been recognized time and again, including in the 2011 Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (known as the Istanbul Convention).

From its beginning, much of GRW’s work has centered on assisting partners with enforcement of the many new laws on violence against women around the world and bringing them lessons of coordination. In 2014 and 2015 we conducted training on CCR in Serbia and Lithuania. We have also been working with UN Women for the past year to create guidelines for coordination, including leading a meeting in Madrid in June 2015 with participants from 30 countries to develop the guidelines. These guidelines, which were published in December, assist countries in adopting a coordinated approach to implementing violence against women laws.

During 2016, GRW will bring the lessons of CCR to a variety of different CSW60 Logoaudiences. On March 15 we will present a panel on CCR at the Commission on the Status of Women meeting (CSW) in New York. CSW is an annual meeting hosted by and taking place at the United Nations in New York. Thousands of women come from around the world to meet, network and learn from each other. In addition to GRW executive director, Cheryl Thomas, our panel will include Melissa Scaia, Executive Director of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project – the Duluth organization that developed CCR; Diana Videva, with Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation; Angelina Zaporojan, program director at the Women’s Law Center in Moldova; and Marta Sanchez Dionis, policy officer at the World Future Council.

Later in March, GRW, in partnership with the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project and the World Future Council will welcome advocates and government officials from different countries for a workshop on CCR. We will travel to Duluth where participants will learn from those who created and continue to develop the Duluth Model. They will see it in action by observing court hearings, batterer programs and riding with police officers who respond to domestic violence calls. Participants will then return to Minneapolis and St. Paul where they will discuss how they will implement what they learned in Duluth when they return home.

Next, GRW will follow up the CCR workshop by making CCR training available to our partners – both those who attended the workshop and others – in their home countries. In addition to continuing to make our in-person training available, we will introduce a curriculum for CCR training that our partners can use to carry out the training on their own. We will pilot the curriculum in two countries before making it generally available. When partners use the curriculum to conduct their own training GRW will be available to provide support.

Now that a majority of the countries in the world have adopted laws on violence against women, the next great challenge is the implementation of those laws. GRW has taken on that challenge and is working with its partners to make certain that laws are put into practice to keep women safe and hold offenders accountable.

Global Rights for Women is spreading the message that implementation of laws and policies to protect women from violence is most effective when they are part of a community-wide strategy that ensures all members of the community respond in a consistent way and are held accountable for their responses. With Minnesota partners like the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project and international partners like the World Future Council GRW will continue to help advocates and legal professionals keep women safe from violence.