Although Austria has good violence protection laws and a well-developed victim protection network, violence against women* is frighteningly frequent. Every 5th woman is at least once a victim of abuse and violence. The murders and attempted murders of women* are also alarmingly high by EU standards. Women's shelters and aid organisations need civil society support.
StoP – Neighbourhoods Without Partner Violence
2,000 Euro Prize 2020
Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy
Fields of action: Family, Violence prevention, Community development
Project owner: Verein Autonome Österreichische Frauenhäuser, AÖF
Responsible person: Mag.a Maria Rösslhumer
StoP (“Neighbourhoods Without Partner Violence”) starts in the spaces of women* affected by violence, it is a neighbourhood project and sees itself as a complementary violence prevention measure. The more neighbours know how to prevent partner violence against women*, the more likely we can prevent murders and attempted murders of women*: we can signal to offenders that there is a strong neighbourhood community.
Neighbours are the core of StoP programmes. Neighbours are extensively informed, trained, sensitized and empowered to exercise civil courage against partner violence. Neighbours meet regularly for "women's and men's tables", plan activities and initiatives together.
Since 2019, there have been 3,000 people who have participated and present at StoP activities one or more times, 80% were neighbours and 20% were community facilitators who have participated in the women* and men* tables, but also events. Through this work, the issue of partner violence could be made much more visible; many women* were directly and indirectly supported.
The StoP concept can easily be adopted in other districts/neighbourhoods in Vienna and Austria – there is already great interest in it. The framework should remain the same; the concept consists of 8 steps copyrighted by Prof. Sabine Stövesand in Hamburg and has been successfully implemented in several neighbourhoods in Germany.
Gender-based violence is not an individual or family problem, but a social problem. StoP focuses on the social environment in which the acts of violence occur and can be prevented, in the neighbourhood. It signals to the perpetrators that the community will not remain invisible. It is the perpetrators are who responsible for the violence they inflict, not the victims. Women and children are empowered, civil courage and social solidarity are promoted, anonymity in the neighbourhood is reduced. StoP’s socially innovative actions against partner violence can be implemented in every neighbourhood of the city.