MY RIGHT 'SPACES TO SUPPORT WOMEN’S CHOICES'
ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
According to a United Nations report in 2010, 'violence against women remains widespread across the world, exacerbated by traditions and customary practices that determine the way women are treated in families, places of work and communities.'
Egypt is no exception. Violence towards women and girls in all its forms – sexual, physical, verbal, emotional and psychological – has increased dramatically in the country over the past few years. The phenomenon is not limited anymore to a particular context; it is happening within and outside the family.
According to a study conducted in 2008 by the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR), sexual harassment has rapidly increased, with 62 per cent of Egyptian men admitting to having sexually harassed women and more than 80 per cent of Egyptian women reporting incidents of this kind.
Who we work with
The programme is a partnership between the Ministry of Justice and the British Council, in collaboration with civil society representative organisation “Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development Centre” (ACT) and in partnership with Victim Support in the United Kingdom. The programme is funded by the Foreign and Common Wealth Office.
What can be done?
The My Right programme aims to contribute to the reduction of violence against women and helps women know and understand their rights. It has been inspired by Victim Support UK in establishing women support centers in Egypt. The centers dispense expert legal advice to women and girls who are subject to violence.
Psychological and social support is also there to help traumatised women who are over 18 years old to make choices and decide for themselves. Cases that fall outside the Women Support Centers’ remit will be referred to the appropriate bodies – i.e. victims under 18 years old or those requiring medical intervention, to receive the support needed.
Where are the offices and who's involved?
According to statistics from the National Centre for Social and Criminal Research, the following four cities have the highest rates of violence against women: North Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan and Tanta.
The Ministry of Justice has made spaces available for centres inside the courts of the four cities and also recruited individuals who can deliver free, quality support. The selected individuals have undergone extensive training by UK and Egyptian organisations to deal with and respond to the cases of violence against women.
“Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development Center” (ACT) have conducted research on the four selected cities to understand what services are already available in these areas. They have also recruited a solicitor who can help the victim, if she decides to take the case to court.
Alongside the programme, there will be a campaign to challenge the social acceptance of violence against women and girls. The British Council will build on the work of organisations such as HarassMap, which allows women to report harassment online.