Czech NGO launches the country's first helpline for victims of sexual assault

No such support service for victims of sexual violence has previously been available in the Czech Republic.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 14.07.2021 14:42 (updated on 14.07.2021)

Prague, July 13 (CTK) - The proFEM Centre for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence has launched a helpline for victims of sexual violence at phone number 777 012 555, and counseling and support will be operated at least for now on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 19:00 to 21:00, proFEM head Poláková said today.

"The helpline is meant for all people over 16 who experienced sexual violence, be it in their childhood, adolescence or adulthood, several years ago or recently. They may call from anywhere at the regular price of phone service," Poláková said.

She added that relatives and those close to victims can reach out for help if they are in need of advice on how to deal with the issue.

The calls can be made to the hotline anonymously.

Sexual violence is defined by proFEM on its website as "both rape and sexual harassment, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual advances, the dissemination of intimate photos without consent, or any other sexualized behavior that is unpleasant to you or doe not respect your decision or your boundaries."

Female assistants with special training answer the calls, Dana Pokorná, head psychotherapist at the proFEM, said.

"We emphasize empathy, trust, and openness to all questions that people might ask about the issue," Pokorna said.

The victims might share their feelings and experience. They will be advised on how to proceed and where they may seek help.

On a long-term basis, the proFEM NGO provides legal and other types of counseling to victims of sexual violence. Last year, it established a group for women who experienced sexual abuse, which is to continue with two new courses, another group for loved ones of the victims is to run, too.

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In May, the NGO launched a campaign entitled We Trust Victims, aimed at people close to the victim, encouraging them to listen to the victims, show empathy, and to not downplay the incident.

People can contribute to the helpline operation through Donio charitable website.

According to the Women Against Violence Europe (WAWE) report and the new gender equality strategy by 2030 approved by the government, support service for victims of sexual violence is not available in the Czech Republic.

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There is no special help center they could turn to and until now, no helpline existed.

Among the government strategy goals, is the establishment of four counseling centers and awareness campaigns, as well as revisited penalties for rapists and violent criminals.

While hotline help for victims of sexual violence is currently not available in the English language, a proFEM spokesperson told Expats.cz that they are working on that possibility for the near future.

"We do provide face-to-face counseling in English in Prague, Benešov, Beroun, and Příbram for victims of domestic and sexual violence, by appointment. We are also able to provide phone counseling to victims of domestic and sexual violence, also by appointment," the spokesperson said.

To speak to a counselor, send an e-mail to poradna@profem.cz.

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