The problem of domestic violence became much worse during the coronavirus pandemic. According to statistics from the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, women account for 90 percent of people suffering from domestic violence. The year 2020 saw a 52 percent increase in the number of cases where women and girls were victims of psychological or physical abuse.
Olena is 35 years old and she belongs to a vulnerable population, being both an injection drug user and a commercial sex worker.The woman often suffered from domestic violence by her husband. He laid a violent hand on her all the time, demanding money and humiliating her in every way possible. Olena never dared to call the law enforcement agency as she was fearful of stigma from the police.
The woman turned to the REAct project for help after she suffered severe physical injuries from another beating by her husband. She was immediately referred to the psychologist and advised to contact the police and the hotline for domestic violence victims. The necessary assistance and emotional support were provided by social workers from whom Olena was receiving HIV prevention counseling and services.
REAct employees helped Olena file a complaint with the police. Police detained her husband and explained to him that domestic violence acts were a punishable offense and carried a criminal sentence.