First specialized center for victims of sexual violence to open in Prague

The operators of the center have turned to the public for help to cover the final expenses needed for the launch. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 20.07.2023 16:32:00 (updated on 20.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The first specialized center for victims of sexual violence in the Czech Republic, which will be established in Prague's Břevnov neighborhood, needs support from the public. The center called PORT will offer crisis assistance, treatment, counseling, or therapy.

The initiative came from proFem, an organization dedicated to assisting victims of sexual violence that will oversee the operations of the facility. However, the actual opening date hinges on the successful securing of finances. To accomplish this, proFem aims to raise CZK 570,000 in a two-month fundraising campaign on the Donio platform.

According to a 2021 report from Women Against Violence Europe, the country currently lacks help centers and crisis lines for victims of sexual violence. This gap in services highlights the necessity for the PORT center.

“Recently, we see that the taboo around sexual violence is beginning to be at least partially broken,” proFem director Jitka Poláková told news agency ČTK, adding that the issue is increasingly discussed in the media and in information campaigns. “But there is a lack of follow-up services specialized specifically for victims and survivors of this violence,” she added.

The PORT center will offer an array of services, including crisis accommodation, psychotherapy, social and legal counseling, and assistance in preserving and collecting evidence for potential legal proceedings. Additionally, a dedicated room will be available for police to conduct interrogations.

Partial funding for the center was made possible through contributions from Norwegian Grants, which also offered support to other organizations, such as Rosa, Agáta, and the League of Human Rights, for their respective projects to help women. According to previous information, the aid totaled CZK 56.1 million.

Rising construction costs affected the project

Due to the rising cost of materials and construction work, the allocated grant and donations from companies, foundations, and individual donors, as well as financial reserves, are not enough to complete the Prague facility. This made it necessary to turn to the public for more support.

Poláková told Radio Proglas that the building for the center is in very poor condition, and requires reconstruction works. "We have already exhausted all possible sources of funding, both from the private and state sectors, and unfortunately we are still missing part of the amount," Poláková said.

The Ministry of Justice is also currently preparing a proposal to change the legal definition of rape. Penalties could also be adjusted. According to proFem’s 2016 analysis of 55 final convictions, a large proportion of those convicted of rape received a suspended sentence. Victim support organizations have previously reported that 90 percent of victims suffer from long-term effects following the traumatic incident.

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