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Poland: Assistance available to victims of domestic violence through the police, prosecutor's office and other government departments (August 2003 - August 2004)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 18 August 2004
Citation / Document Symbol POL42816.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Poland: Assistance available to victims of domestic violence through the police, prosecutor's office and other government departments (August 2003 - August 2004), 18 August 2004, POL42816.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df61623e.html [accessed 21 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information on assistance available to victims of domestic violence through the police, prosecutor's office and other government departments during the period August 2003 through August 2004 was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

According to a 2004 report by Amnesty International, the assistance available to victims of domestic violence in Poland was "insufficient" and "inadequate." The report also stated that "[d]omestic violence was not effectively investigated or prosecuted and victims were inadequately protected from further violence and other forms of pressure by the perpetrators" (AI 2004). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

In 1995, a national emergency service for victims of domestic violence called Blue Line was established by and continues to be operated by the Health Psychology Institute of the Polish Psychological Association in cooperation with the State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol Related Problems (Health Psychology Institute of the Polish Psychological Association n.d.). The Blue Line service operates a hotline for victims of domestic violence, which is available from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays (ibid.). Those taking calls are formally trained in psychology and pedagogy, with additional training in criminal, civil and family law, ways of working with individuals affected by domestic violence, and the different types of assistance available throughout Poland to victims of domestic violence (ibid.). In 2003, the hotline received 13,405 calls (ibid.).

The Interdisciplinary Assistance Program for People Involved in Domestic Violence was also established by the Blue Line service in June 1996 in the Warsaw region (ibid.). The program provides family therapy along with psychological, legal and social support and assistance to victims of domestic violence (ibid.).

In addition, the Blue Line service operates an information centre, which is responsible for "collecting...information on family violence and making it available to the interested parties, developing and implementing...research programs [and] raising social awareness [about] family violence" (ibid.).

The Blue Line service also provides training courses to front-line workers dealing with victims of domestic violence and supports the Family Violence Counteraction College, which is led by the Health Psychology Institute of the Polish Psychological Association (ibid.).

Finally, the Blue Line service works in collaboration with the State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol Related Problems in respect of the Blue Card System (please see POL42815.E of 4 August 2004 for information on the Blue Card System), public education and various collaborative efforts with domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations and the media to promote legislative changes and the prevention of domestic violence (ibid.).

Additional information on assistance available to victims of domestic violence through the police, prosecutor's office and other government departments could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Amnesty International. 2004. "Poland." Amnesty International Report 2004. [Accessed 17 Aug. 2004]

Health Psychology Institute of the Polish Psychological Association. n.d. "Polish Nationwide Emergency Service for Victims of Domestic Violence: 'Blue Line'." [Accessed 17 Aug. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: The Baltic Gender Center (Gdansk, Poland), BBC, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003, Dialog/WNC, EUROPA, European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Freedom in the World 2003, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, KARAT Coalition on Gender Equality (Warsaw), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OUNHCHR), OSKA – The National Women's Information Center (Warsaw), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Stop Violence Against Women (stopVAW), United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (UNDAW), Warsaw Voice, Women's Rights Center (Warsaw).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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