Logotyp m.st. Warszawy

Capital City Warsaw

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Link directs to polish version website

In the current situation of the coronavirus epidemic, people experiencing domestic violence are in a particularly difficult situation remaining in the place of residence with the perpetrators. The City of Warsaw constantly provides assistance to people experiencing violence, of course with appropriate procedures resulting from the introduction of the state of the epidemic in Poland.

In the interest of the safety of people using the assistance of non-governmental organizations that carry out tasks delegated by the City of Warsaw in the field of counteracting domestic violence as well as employees of the abovementioned organization, there have been changes in the organization of work in implemented assistance programs. Information on the possibility of contacting individual NGOs and obtaining a help in a telework form in various languages can be found in the following list:

• "Blue Line” nationwide emergency phone line for victims of domestic violence, phone 800 120 002 (available 24/7), the connection is free or send email to niebieskalinia@niebieskalinia.info. You can get psychological support, information about the laws and procedures in force in Poland, and facilities that provide assistance to people experiencing domestic violence. Available also in English, Russian and sign language via the Skype application,
• Warsaw's “Blue Line”, phone (22) 668 70 00 or send an email to poradnia@niebieskalinia.pl (working hours: Monday to Friday 12:00 (noon) - 6:00 p.m.), available also in sign language via the Skype application. If necessary, a translator will be provided in the language of the person experiencing violence,
• Women's Rights Center Foundation, phone +48 22 622-25-17, Monday to Friday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, emegrency number 600 070 717 (available 24/7) or send email to pomoc@cpk.org.pl, available also in English,
• Feminoteka Foundation, tel. 888 88 33 88, open from Monday to Friday 8:00 am - 8.00 pm or send email to pomoc@feminoteka.pl, available also in English, there is also a special Avon Alert application https://avonalert.pl/, which women can also use outside of phone hours.
• MEDERI Foundation, tel. 505 576 189 or 22 111 00 36, open Monday to Friday at 9.00-15.00 or by e-mail: kontakt@fundacjamederi.pl; individual psychological consultations available also in English and French
Information on the assistance carried out by Social Assistance Ceneters available in the City of Warsaw in the situation of domestic violence during epidemia COVID-19

Pobierz plakat w wersji kolorowej
There is still a possibility to get help in the form of an intervention shelter:

• the Warsaw Center for Crisis Intervention (in short: WOIK), 6 Sierpnia 1/5 Street, tel. 514 202 619 (open 24 hours).

The WOIK Hostel can be used according to the existing rules. Receptions are preceded by a telephone consultation with a WOIK employee, which consists in recognizing the life and housing situation of the person applying for help in the form of shelter and the initial diagnosis justifying staying in the Hostel (meeting the requirements of the Act on social assistance).

In connection with the current situation caused by coronavirus, WOIK has adopted a procedure for preventing infection and preventing the spread of coronavirus, which applies to both WOIK employees and persons using the services of the institution. WOIK clients are kept informed about epidemic recommendations.

• Specialist Support Center for Victims of Domestic Violence (in short: SOW) classified address, tel. (22) 828 38 26, emergency telephone number: 600 07 07 17 (open 24 hours).

The unit is run by a non-governmental organization: Women's Rights Center Foundation.If an intervention shelter is used, the clients are required to have a 14-day quarantine (the facility has separate rooms).

• In addition, in the City of Warsaw there is a center that provides shelter for women with children: Support Center for Women with Minor Children and Pregnant Women "Etezja" at Chlubna 9A/9D Street, tel. 604 930 292 (open 24 hours).

Accommodation at the Center takes place at the request of the client based on the decision of the WCPR (Warsaw Family Support Center), issued after the documents have been completed by the district social assistance centers.

The Center adopted a procedure for dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. In addition, people admitted to the Center must complete a questionnaire regarding e.g. health status and contact with a suspected COVID-19 infection.



Domestic violence is not a conflict between two equal sides. It is a situation in which one person is hurt by another who abuses their power. Using violence is against the law. You have the right to say “no more!” There is a way out of every situation. There are people and institutions that can help you. If you don't feel safe in your home, check our website to find out how to get assistance.

On the website you will find information on:
• assistance options provided by the City for victims of domestic violence;
• how to react to various kinds of violence if you are a witness;
• where to look for help in order to unlearn violent behaviour if you have violent tendencies.

Domestic violence can take various forms:
Physical violence, including in particular pushing, pushing away, overpowering, holding down, slapping, pinching, kicking, choking, smacking and punching, hitting with objects, throwing objects at someone, scalding, pouring caustic substances on someone, using weapons, abandoning in a dangerous area, etc.

Psychological violence includes ridiculing someone's views, religious beliefs, physical appearance, imposing one's views on someone, constant criticising, making someone believe that they have a mental illness, social isolation (controlling and limiting someone's contacts with other people), demanding obedience, limiting someone's sleep and access to food, calling someone names, intimidating, humiliating, embarrassing, threatening someone, etc.

Sexual violence is forcing someone to sexual contacts, forcing unaccepted forms of sexual stimulation and sexual practices, forcing someone to have sex with other people, sadistic forms of sexual contacts, demonstrations of jealousy, criticising someone's sexual behaviour, etc.

Economic violence includes taking someone's earnings, preventing someone from taking paid employment, strictly rationing out means of support for someone, constantly controlling someone's expenses, refusing to meet the basic financial needs of the family, etc.

The violence cycle consists of phases repeating according to the specific pattern:
• tension building, where aggression begins to emerge;
• acute violence, an outbreak of the aggression;
• honeymoon, when the abuser apologises and promises to be better.

In line with Article 2 (2) of the Act of 29 July 2005 on counteracting domestic violence:
Domestic violence shall be understood as a single or recurring wilful action or negligence infringing upon the personal rights or wellbeing of relatives or persons in the same residence or household, in particular exposing these persons to the risk of losing life, health, compromising their dignity, physical integrity, freedom, including sexual freedom, causing damage to their physical or mental health, and causing pain and moral suffering in persons subjected to violence.

Assistance options


In a life- or health-threatening situation, always call the Police at 997 or 112.

If your relative hurts you and your family, you may also report a crime with the Police or Public Prosecutor's Office.

In the case of bodily harm, go to the doctor to get medical assistance, ask for a free-of-charge medical certificate stating the causes and nature of injuries sustained through domestic violence.

What is the Blue Card?

The Blue Card procedure is initiated when there is a suspicion of domestic violence. These are measures taken by services cooperating with each other (the Police, educational, healthcare and social assistance institutions, or a committee for the prevention of alcohol-related problems) whenever there is a suspicion of domestic violence.
A member of the services, e.g. a police officer, fills in the “Blue Card A” form in the presence of the survivor of violence. The document initiates the procedure. The survivor of violence is informed of their rights. After that the “Blue Card” is transferred to the Interdisciplinary Team, which investigates the situation and provides assistance to the family. When needed, a family assistance plan is prepared in cooperation with the survivor of violence, and a procedure for its implementation is created. The Team can also decide to establish a Working Group for the family. The Working Group consists of a team of specialists, employees of assistance services and organisations which may have contact with the family, e.g. a social worker, police officer, school educational counsellor, worker of the NGO which provides assistance to the victim of violence.

The Blue Card procedure is concluded when the individual assistance plan is completed and domestic violence has ended, or when the interdisciplinary team finds that there are no grounds for further measures.

Emergency Plan

The Emergency Plan was developed by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Polish Ombudsman), acting in cooperation with experts of the Feminoteka Foundation, the Women's Rights Center (Centrum Praw Kobiet) and the Blue Line IPZ (Niebieska Linia IPZ).

Personal emergency plan
If you know you may experience domestic violence and are concerned that it may be difficult to get help during an epidemic, make a personal emergency plan.
If something bad happens, you'll immediately know how to react and where to go.
Your safety is a priority.
It is not your fault that you have experienced violence and there are people who want to help you!

1. Observe the behavior of an aggressive person:
It is important to know what behaviors precede the worst and when the situation becomes dangerous for you, your loved ones, children.

If the fights are escalating, the screams intensify, if you hear threats more often, if you experience physical violence, e.g. jerking, pushing, beating or forced to have sex - these are signals that the violence is increasing.

2. Teach your children to care about their safety:
Tell children where they can seek help:
• e.g. that they can knock on a friendly neighbour,
• teach them the emergency number,
• talk to them that this is not their fault
• determine where the house keys are, how to open the front door, if something happens,
• make sure they know the address of the flat if they have to call the emergency number.

3. A safe place: Think about where you can find a shelter in your home.
It is important that there are no dangerous tools.
Avoid the kitchen, garage, bathroom and other places where there may be hard floors or dangerous items.

4. Be prepared to escape:
Pack everything in a handy bag, keep it an easily accessible place so that you can take it at any time. List of things to remember:
• Important documents, e.g. passport, ID card
• Medicines
• Telephone
• Money / credit card
• Charger
• Important phone numbers
• Home keys
• Medical examinations (if you have one)
• Bank account numbers (written)
• Underwear for a change
• Toothbrush
• Personal protective equipment needed during an epidemic: protective masks, gloves, a small pack of hand sanitizer. (if you have them at home)

5. In an emergency situation:
Don't run away from children! They may also be at risk.

If you can't escape, hide in the corner of the room. Curl down, protect your face and head.

Try to always have your phone with a charged battery.

Call for help: 997, 112.

In your mobile phone, program the emergency number so that you can dial it with one key. In addition to the police telephone, you should also have the telephone numbers to the ambulance, your loved one and the telephone number of the shelter, where you can get help and support.

If you have to call for help in a public place, e.g. in a staircase, think about whether instead of calling for help it might be worth shouting "It’s burning"! - which could be more effective.

If the police come with intervention and you are afraid for your life and health, demand that the perpetrator of the violence be detained for 48 hours. You will buy your time to find shelter and get help. Remember that despite the epidemic, the services are required to respond immediately to domestic violence!

6. Get to know your allies:
Talk to family, neighbours and friends about the situation in your home.

Develop with them a strategy in case you need their help. It may be helpful to set a safe word - if you use it, they will know that you urgently need help.

Try to fill out the following list of people you can call for support:
• Friend
• A family member
• District policeman
• A trusted teacher from a child's school
• Friend neighbour
• A colleague you trust
• A social organization that will help you
• A doctor who knows you
• (If you have) your lawyer

Domestic violence witnesses

A witness to domestic violence is very important, often being the only person who can put a stop to violence. An intervention by a witness may help the victim get out of a difficult situation and, most importantly, ensure that the victim is safe.

It may seem that the person who experiences violence does not want your help because they are trying to hide the signs of it; for instance, by suddenly starting to wear sunglasses when there is no need to do so or a long-sleeve blouse in the summer.

It's not true. Victims of violence, against the popular stereotype, do a lot to improve their situation. First of all, they try to talk to the abusers, get out of the house to avoid being attacked, and hide and run away during the attack itself. Secondly, they seek help from outside: they talk to their relatives, friends, neighbours, contact the Police and organisations providing assistance to victims of violence.

It may happen that after or during an episode of considerable violence victims seek help, call the Police or go to shelters, but later they withdraw. This may be difficult to understand.

Specialists explain such behaviour with the learned helplessness syndrome or the post-traumatic stress disorder. The learned helplessness syndrome is giving up and refusing to take action to improve the situation if previous attempts at this have failed. The victim of violence becomes convinced that there is nothing they can do to keep safe, so they stop trying. The situation of victims of violence is often compared to casualties of terrorist attacks, the difference being that the victims of domestic violence remain in the state of threat to life for a long time, and the attacker is not a stranger but the closest person.

Remember that victims of violence:
Fear for their life and health: that nobody will want to testify even if they file a report with the Police or Public Prosecutor's Office.
Don’t believe: that someone will be willing and able to help them, that they have a right to ask for help, that anything will change.
Are ashamed: because they take full responsibility for what's happening in their homes.

REMEMBER!
• offer help;
• listen to the person who is experiencing violence;
• believe in what they are saying;
• assure them that there are institutions able to assist them and help them find these institutions;
• notify people who professionally provide assistance in crisis situations.

19 115 – Warsaw's helpline where you will receive information on where to get help in your neighbourhood;

800 120 002 – a 24/7nationwide telephone line for people experiencing domestic violence, the connection is free. You can get psychological support, information about the laws and procedures in force in Poland, and facilities that provide assistance to people experiencing domestic violence. Available also in English, Russian and sign language via the Skype application.

Find the place where you can get help.




If you’re a witness to domestic violence

Few people have the courage and strength to personally confront the abuser. Fear of their reaction is nothing strange, but a failure to react may end in tragedy.

If NO physical abuse is involved:
• Lower the level of aggression. Approach the abuser and ask about anything (“What time is it?”, “How to get to the station?”, “Have you received your electricity bill?” – if it’s a neighbour). This way you will redirect the attention of the abuser. Seeing that the victim has support, the abuser may lose their confidence. A reaction of a witness may be sign for them that something is wrong with their own behaviour.
• Describe what you see and offer help. Say something like: “You seem to be very upset. How can I help?”

If physical abuse is involved.
• make sure to call the Police at 997 or 112, and ask them to intervene

Behaviour control difficulties

Options of assistance for people who have difficulties with controlling their behaviour.

Violence does not solve problems but creates them. The situation in your family depends on you. There’s no point wasting time on violence – there's always time to change it and get help. If you want to learn how to deal with tension without hurting your loved ones, use the assistance options for those who find it difficult to control their behaviour in the surge of emotions.

When to get professional assistance:
1. If you experience difficulties in relationships with your family or friends – get help.
2. If outbursts of anger or aggression happen to you – get help.
3. If others tell you that you’re abusing your strength – see to that, help yourself and the people closest to you.
4. If you care about your loved ones, but you keep hearing that you're aggressive.

Thanks to the assistance you will be able to see what you're doing wrong, and how to change it.

Benefits:
• you will find out more about your and other people's emotions, feelings and needs,
• you will learn how to manage your anger in conflict situations,
• you will find out how to communicate without violence.

Find the place where you can get help.