On October 10, 2018, parliamentary hearings on prevention and combatting discrimination of women from vulnerable social groups took place in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Members of Parliament, representatives of human rights organizations, governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, and Ukrainian and international charities presented proposals on overcoming discrimination of women from vulnerable social groups for consideration to the Committee on Human Rights, Ethnic Minorities, and Inter-Ethnic Relations.
Halyna Skipalska, Director of HealthRight International Representative Office in Ukraine and Executive Director of ICF “Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health” (UFPH) presented the efforts HealthRight and UFPH have taken to respond to gender-based violence since 2104, to combat the removal of 12,000 social workers in communities that left the most vulnerable populations without support. Starting from 2015, with the support of the Ministry of Social Policy and UNFPA, and later UNICEF and 12 oblast state administrations, new models of providing services to women who survived violence were developed. Today these new models – psychological and social support mobile teams and shelters for women-survivors of domestic violence – have been implemented, enshrined in law, and are serving communities in many oblasts of Ukraine. There is a need is to create a comprehensive model of reaching and supporting violence survivors, which requires interagency cooperation and community-level action. The next steps made by HealthRight and UFPH are to obtain funding of these projects from local budgets.