Proposal to establish The Nordic Network of Stakeholders Focusing on Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence
Taking stock of the prior work done on the issue of ending violence in close relationships, unfolding with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers, and looking ahead in terms of ensuring oversight and effective implementation of relevant national commitments in Nordic countries, including the Istanbul Convention, an initiative is put forth to establish a Nordic Network of stakeholders working with/focusing on perpetrators of domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV).
The initiative emerged during the conference “Confronting Gendered Violence: Focus on Perpetrators,” held from November 30th to December 2nd 2016 in Helsinki, with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The event was organized by RIKK – Institute for Gender, Equality, and Difference, University of Iceland, and THL – National institute for Health and Welfare in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland and NIKK – Nordic Information on Gender. In addition, the conference was prepared in close cooperation between Nordic actors working in the field: Alternativ til vold, Norway; Dialog mod Vold, Denmark; Heimilisfriður, Iceland; Lyömätön Linja, Finland; Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University; University of Greenland; Metropolitan Police, Iceland; Sig frá, Faroe Islands.
This initiative follows important groundwork done on mapping of services available for perpetrators of DV or IPV in the Nordic region, with the aim to contribute to decreasing violence in intimate partner relationships. The project was initiated during the Finnish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers and spearheaded by the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (for a full report, go here http://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1082406/FULLTEXT05.pdf). The Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference (RIKK) at the University of Iceland has since taken the role of coordinating the proposed establishment of the Nordic Network of actors working in the field of domestic violence with a focus on perpetrators.
The Network will gather policy makers, service providers, activists, practitioners, law enforcement officials and researchers working in the field. Aware of other (sub)regional, specialized networks dealing with domestic violence and intimate partner violence, and geared for specialist in particular fields, our aim is to create a broad, cross-sectoral forum of professionals and practitioners advocating for a coordinated response to DV and IPV that is dynamic and flexible. We recognize the importance of an inter-organizational and inter-agency effort to formulate comprehensive strategies to combat DV and IPV and will strive to maintain this approach. In our work so far, we have witnessed the effectiveness of forums in which professionals from different sectors engage in a dialogue, and move towards innovative and coordinated responses and policy solutions to DV. Recognizing that women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence (Council of Europe, The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, Articles 2&3) we take a gender specific/feminist approach to tackling this issue, and our Network will reflect the same perspective.
The Network will have three main thematic pillars, with the overall mission to reduce occurrence of DV and IPV through improved legal, social, medical and community responses to gendered violence, at its core:
- Treatment Options for Perpetrators – Alternatives to Violence Practices.
- Research on Perpetrators in Intimate Partner Violence.
- Social frameworks and support systems for perpetrators.
Together with the participants of the Helsinki conference, we have agreed on a set of objectives set to facilitate the establishment of the Network and delineate its platform:
- Promoting and shaping a Nordic research agenda, giving impetus to knowledge production and dissemination related to DV and IPV and providing peer review for the Network’s members.
- Establishing and promoting best practices, setting norms and standards, and monitoring their implementation in the Nordic region.
- Promoting and advocating for an approach which regards human rights of victims as a primary concern, while committing to cooperation with specialized victim services.
- Providing expert support in monitoring of the implementation of national commitments related to DV and IPV.
- Engaging in partnerships and issue-based advocacy in the Nordic region, on matters critical for an effective response to DV and IPV.
- Articulating evidence-based prevention, treatment, response and policy options.
- Catalyzing change and providing technical support when possible.
- Mobilizing resources for joint projects and regional cooperation when possible.
Structure of the Network
It is proposed that the Network adopts a rotating coordination system (with the coordination shifting to a new body in agreed time periods), and remains informal for its first three years.
We propose establishment of a Board consisting of representatives of each country, and including two independent researchers whose positions would be rotational. The Board would have nine (9) members.
It is also suggested to maintain a heavier online presence, as opposed to frequent organizational meetings, and place the emphasis on information and resource sharing, and coordinated action. Members will be asked for a preference (Google groups, closed Facebook group, Twitter, other social platforms). The website domain used for the Helsinki conference will be transformed into the Network’s official website and it is currently secured for the next three years. New members will be able to join the Network through an active field on the website.
The Network will host bi-annual meetings, provided the finances are successfully mobilized.
Next Steps to be Taken
In the preparatory stage of the Network’s launch, we wish to engage in a discussion with the colleagues who have been a part of the process so far and other (potential) members, and use some of the upcoming events and conferences in the Nordic region as an opportunity to meet, review the plans, receive feedback and brainstorm on future steps.
Our affiliates, Milica Minić, Jón Ingvar Kjaran and Rannveig Sigurvinsdóttir will be attending conferences in Örebro, Jyväskylä and Oslo, and will be available to meet with any of you who might be attending the same events, to organize a discussion around the Network’s establishment and the proposed Concept note. The conferences in question are:
1. Örebro – Men and Masculinities: Politics, Policy, Praxis; Milica Minić ,firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Jyväskylä – Interpersonal Violence Interventions – Social and Cultural Perspectives, IPVI2017; Jón Ingvar Kjaran, email@example.com
3. Oslo – Nordisk konferanse om vold og behandling; Rannveig Sigurvinsdóttir, firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage you to be in touch with our colleagues if you wish to be a part of the preparatory discussion and receive information on the Network. Received feedback will be integrated into our planning and all Network members will receive updated documents in the upcoming period.