Individual assistance is implemented mainly through the emergency phone lines operated by the Association’s staff and volunteers. The helpline, reserved for adult and child victims of domestic abuse and violence, has been operating since the establishment of the Association in 1997, with a toll-free number (+36 80505101), and receives around 2,000 calls a year. ‘Keret’ helpline has been available for adult and child victims of sexual violence since 2010 (run by NANE-qualified staff in a joint project with other women’s organizations) and can be called at local rates (+36 40630006). Between 2000 and 2003, an information telephone line was operated to help in the prevention of female trafficking, first with the support of the EU (in the form of an International Organization for Migration (IOM) initiative), and later financed by the United States Embassy.
Violence against women has been experienced for centuries, in almost every culture in the world. Irrespective of what the victim has done, we believe that she is not responsible for the violence committed against her. It is always the perpetrator’s responsibility. Women regularly blame themselves because the society and the state accepts domestic violence against women through family, education, and gender socialization. Additionally, they offer ideologies that blame women for these acts.
We help everyone to explain and express their experiences in their own way, in their own words. Every life is different. Therefore, it is important to get to know the victims and understand their feelings. Our job is to understand them, not to make them understand us.
During a conversation on the NANE emergency line, we do not tell the victims what they should do. We try to understand their situation, and provide information to help them make their own decisions. The task of our colleagues is to support the victims: giving them space to freely talk about their situation, reflect and reassure their feelings, help to map the resources and possibilities of the victim, and give information about domestic violence and the options for fighting against it.
One goal of the emergency line is help women gain their strength back and believe in themselves again. Our task is to help the victims find their own solutions to their problems.
We need to believe that there is a way out from every violent situation. In many cases, this is a long and painful path, which is not fair to the victims. However, it is worth fighting for the sake of a safe and peaceful life. Because we believe in the strength of the victims, we can support them in finding their path towards a solution.
Everyone can become a victim. In our society, every woman (including us and our volunteers) experiences a form of violence in their life. However, women experience different types of violence and have different resources for realizing their situation and getting out of it. All of us have experienced some kind of violence, and all of us have to work on this experience before we start working for the emergency line. So, there is no “us” and “them”.
Domestic and family physical, emotional, and sexual violence against women is a social phenomenon affecting people globally. According to the UN, it is due to the social inequality between men and women that has developed throughout our history. Victims of violence usually believe that their case is unique, however, it is a society-wide issue. That is why it is a social and political obligation to fight against violence. Social institutions, family centers, the court, the police, hospitals, etc. have to actively participate in fighting against family violence.
Misinterpreted ‘neutralism’, the idea of ‘the truth is in the middle’, making both parties responsible for the violence, or considering violence as relative, are in reality not neutral standpoints. They are in fact supporting the violence and reassuring the batterer. We know that currently men have more power and bigger social influence; and that discrimination affects women in every aspect of their lives. Social institutions generally support those with power and influence. By standing next to the victims, we try to realize social justice.
NANE Association believes that every person has the same rights regardless of ethnic or national origin, age or social layer, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs or personal history. A life free of violence is a basic human right that applies to everyone.
According to international statistics, witnessing violence is just as harmful as experiencing it: children whose parents commit or experience violence suffer even in cases where the children themselves do not face it. Victims are frequently expected to stay with their abusing partner for “the sake of the children”. However, the children’s interest is safety, not witnessing violence within the family.