Top of page
page corner|

Staffordshire Women's Aid

24 Hour Helpline

0300 330 5959

Main content




What is Project EMPOWER?

The EMPOWER Project is an innovative and exciting partnership supported and funded by the European Union through the DAPHNE III Programme which aims to combat all forms of violence against women and children. EMPOWER is an inspirational joining together of organisations from 3 different European regions – Staffordshire in the UK, Presov in Slovakia and Extremadura in Spain, all working to combat domestic and sexual violence in rural communities. At its centre is the goal of contributing to reducing and preventing violence against women. It involves researching and exchanging knowledge and practice, developing new initiatives, and sharing the results of this work in ways that can make a real difference to agencies working on the front line, and most importantly, to victims and survivors.

EMPOWER - Understanding Violence against Women and Girls

"Violence against women continues to persist as one of the most
heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world.
It is a threat to all women, and an obstacle to all our efforts for
development, peace, and gender equality in all societies. Violence
against women is always a violation of human rights; it is always a
crime; and it is always unacceptable. Let us take this issue with the
deadly seriousness that it deserves."

                           Ban Ki moon, United Nations Secretary General

Funded by the European Union, EMPOWER is a project focussed on increasing
understanding of violence against women, and using this to explore ways of
improving the situation for women in rural areas. Violence against women is
a social problem of enormous gravity which impacts on the physical and
psychological integrity, and human dignity of women and girls globally.
EMPOWER is part of a European pledge to fight this problem with all possible

There are several definitions of Violence against Women (also often referred to as
Gender Violence). The United Nations defines it as "Violence that is directed at a
woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately"

Our analysis of the problem has demonstrated that the issue is complex and very wide ranging. Each year across the UK 3 million women experience this form of violence, and there are many more living with the legacies of abuse experienced in the past.

In the UK Violence against Women and Girls includes: domestic violence, rape and sexual violence, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, crimes in the name of honour, trafficking and sexual exploitation. It is mostly committed by men that women know or are in a close relationship with.

The cost of this deep rooted social phenomenon is very high to society. It causes physical damage ranging from death in extreme cases to miscarriages, broken limbs, and cuts and bruises. Women also suffer scarring and physical disability and sexual offences bring the risk of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and forced and forced pregnancies. Violence can also cause lasting psychological damage.

  • It is estimated that violence against women costs society £40 billion each year (New Philanthropy Capital).
  • The direct cost to the economy of domestic violence alone in England & Wales in one year is £6 billion.
  • In addition, the human and emotional cost is estimated at £17 billion (Walby, The Cost of Domestic Violence, 2004).
  • The cost of sexual offences in a year is estimated to be £8.46 billion pounds, with each rape costing an estimated £76,000 pounds.


The Aims of EMPOWER

A key purpose in Project EMPOWER is to increase knowledge and awareness amongst agencies and communities in rural areas about Violence against Women. Research has shown that ingrained social attitudes and a lack of understanding and awareness in rural areas means that victims are particularly isolated and at risk.

Rural communities themselves are often isolated from knowledge and services, and so an approach which truly engages with these communities is required. In order to improve responses and services for victims of violence against women in rural areas, those agencies that are most likely to be in contact with victims need support and knowledge. Such agencies will not only include the Police, Fire Services, Social Services, Schools and health agencies, but also rural community groups, District and Parish Councils, churches, and youth clubs. EMPOWER recognises that in order to reduce the problem of violence against women, we have to work with the whole community, not just the 'professionals'.

The end result of our exchange of practice and knowledge will be to produce a training package which is designed to be used in rural communities to raise awareness and change attitudes. Based on our research and exchange of practice, the EMPOWER training project will be piloted in each of our partner countries, and we hope it will have the capacity to be used more widely in the future. We are aiming for it to be a dynamic tool, with the experiences of survivors themselves at its heart. This end result of EMPOWER should have the capacity to be delivered to multi-agency groups, to victims, and to young people, and could be delivered by survivors themselves. Our goal is to take the pilot work of the project further into the heart of our rural communities, and make a long term difference with an adaptable and dynamic awareness raising tool.

As partners united in combatting Violence against Women and Girls, we want EMPOWER to be part of creating changes of attitudes in rural communities, and a tool for empowering survivors to be part of that change.

                         The Key Actions we have Undertaken in Project EMPOWER

The following are the key actions we as partners have undertaken for

ACTION 1 – Study of Violence against Women in Rural Areas

This study and analysis enables partners to deepen their knowledge and understanding of this issue. Each partner produces an analysis of problems, strategies and interventions in their local and national areas. Partners then compare their work with a view to learning about new practices, exploring appropriate ways of working in the future. It involves extensive contact between the different partners and leads to an understanding of the global context of Violence against women, as well as gaining a real understanding of specific ways of tackling this at local levels.

This Action has as its results 3 documents: a report on Violence against Women in each region, a catalogue of best practices, and a recommendation for future ways of combatting Violence against Women.

ACTION 2 – Involving Survivors of Violence against Women in Project EMPOWER

This action involves extensive consultation with survivors, and leads to enabling a small group to help in piloting the new training package. It is a key action, enabling survivors to be central to raising awareness in the future dissemination of EMPOWER.

ACTION 3 – Information and Awareness Raising

This action requires partners to share the work of Project EMPOWER through conferences, seminars and information such as leaflets and posters.

ACTION 4 – Creation of Networks

Through this action, partners aim to use the final results of EMPOWER to continue to address the issue of Violence against Women. A key purpose will be to develop a Violence against Women group with strategic partners, so that the issue continues to be addressed at a local level.
Who are the Partners in Project EMPOWER?

                       Who are the Partners in Project EMPOWER?

IMEXIMEX - Instituto de la Mujer de Extremadura               

The “Instituto de la Mujer de Extremadura” (IMEX) (Women's Institute of Extremadura) is an autonomous organisation, forming part of the Ministry for Equality and Employment of the regional government of Extremadura. The IMEX is in charge of instilling Equal Opportunities Policies and promoting the conditions to ensure that the Equality between women and men is both real and effective throughout our Autonomous Region, thereby facilitating the participation of women in political, economical, cultural, employment and social ambits in Extremadura. This is accomplished by the elimination of all forms of discrimination and overcoming obstacles which stand in its way.

ELOISA ELOISA - Asociación Eloisa

The “Asociación ELOISA” (ELOISA Association: Local Strategy for Equal Opportunities in Employment), is presided over by the Director of the IMEX and composed of a total of thirteen public and private entities representing the different social and technical agents involved in the development of social policies in the region of Extremadura. The Association runs several different projects focussed on Equal Opportunities and against Gender Violence, in collaboration with the IMEX and funded at European, national and regional levels.

FEMPEX FEMPEX - Federación de Municipios y Provincias de Extremadura
The “Federación de Municipios y Provincias de Extremadura, FEMPEX”, (Federation of Municipalities and Provinces of Extremadura), is an association made up of local governing bodies of the autonomous region of Extremadura, who voluntarily decide to become members in order to protect and promote common interests and, in particular, to defend local autonomy.

Krizove Asociación WeMothers

The civic association WeMothers is active in the area of women's
rights and equality since 2000. It had run Mothers Centre from the very beginning of its                     existence since summer of 2007 and from 2003 there is Crisis Centre for abused women                       created as a consultancy service, advisory centre and crisis accommodation
in co-operating with all the relevant subjects (Presov municipality,social workers, local                    governments, police, courts, theraputists, medicians, etc.)

Staffordshire Women's Aid  Staffordshire Women Aid

Staffordshire Women's Aid has been providing services for women and children fleeing or living with domestic violence since 1976. As well as providing outreach and refuge services across the districts of Staffordshire, we offer a range of training and awareness raising for agencies and community groups. EMPOWER is    the third transnational project we have been involved in.

With the collaboration of Nexonet


Staffordshire Women’s Aid is very proud to be part of this
European funded partnership, and the opportunity it has given
us to gain knowledge in our field. We hope that our partners and
supporters will be inspired by the innovative work of Project
EMPOWER and work with us in taking it forward into the future.
We believe that with the various outcomes of this project, we will
be able to work together to make a difference to communities in
Staffordshire in reducing and preventing Violence against
Women and Girls.

< Go back to the News listings page