The internal statistics of the Council of Refugee Women in Bulgaria (CRWB) shows around 300 persons (adults and children) residing in Sofia city with a refugee or humanitarian status. Another 350 asylum seekers (as of the end of April 2019, according to statistics of the State Agency for Refugees (SAR) are accommodated in the SAR reception centers in Sofia and Harmanli. After the previous phases of the project, as well as during the awareness raising sessions among refugees and asylum seekers, individual needs were communicated with the project team deriving from various vulnerabilities among the beneficiaries, including GBV, womens health and children – related issues.
The Council of Refugee Women in Bulgaria is developing a colaboration, aimed at responding to the need of implementing a comprehensive approach, specific to GBV cases among refugees and asylum seekers in Bulgaria. The need derives from cultural differences and enhanced vulnerability of refugees because of language and cultural barriers, low level of social adaptation, lack of enough information, good civic orientation in the hosting society and poverty as a contributing factor to domestic violence. The approach involves working with both parents and children –to improve parental capacity through the provision of social services or to signal for urgent protection measures in cases of violence against children and GBV, including domestic violence and sexual violence.
The focus of the initiative is to target cases regarding gender-based violence (GBV) and other types of violence via direct programs (individual support and group awareness raising and GBV prevention activities) for survivors or persons at risk; multidisciplinary work with professionals in the area, as well as internal organizational development of policies and procedures to position the organization among the licensed social services providers.
Specialized support will continue to be provided via an external psychotherapist to provide assessment in cases of violence/risk of violence for survivor or person/child at risk. The external professional assessment will help navigate the case and better prioritize a clients needs of support and subsequent referrals. In addition, individual support will be provided via a vulnerability fund, on the basis of vulnerability assessment, to cover individual urgent needs which are identified or occur in the process of social assessment/case work.