Autonomous Women’s Center in partnership with Kosovo Women’s Network has developed the Protocol for Psychosocial Counselling via Online Applications.
Considering that the pandemic crisis has increased the rate of violence against women at regional and global level and aggravated the access to support services, the main goal of one year lasting project is to improve the accessibility of women who survived violence to the support services. In achieving that, online applications are very important tool in providing service when live contact is not possible, but there are preconditions for providing services on that way. Considering that the use of online applications in providing service also raise concern over privacy protection both of our clients and service providers, we have worked on developing standards to provide psychosocial counselling via online applications.
The main principles that guided us in developing the Protocol for Psychosocial Counselling via Online Applications were the necessity for accessibility and availability of the individual consultation services on the one hand, and the need for service to be provided on secure way (physical safety, security and protection of privacy and personal data), on the other.
The Protocol contains guidelines about devices we use in providing the service, premises we provide the service from, how we choose an app for the service providing, and for all that needs to be secured and agreed before the service is provided, during the services and after it. The protocol also contains information about personal data processing, providing service to women who are accommodated in safe houses or other institutions of social protection.
The Protocol is shared with women’s CSOs service providers from Serbia and the region, hoping that it going to help them to improve the accessibility of the service they provide.
Women’s non-governmental organizations from both Kosovo and Serbia which provide services to women who survived violence contributed to creation of this protocol by sharing their knowledge and experience. Significant support was provided by organizations that have expertise in the field of privacy and data protection and USA organizations which shared their resources and experiences in providing online services to victims of violence.
The protocol was developed within the project “Support for Female Survivors of Violence during the Post COVID Recovery in Serbia and Kosovo” implemented in partnership with the Kosovo Women's Network and the Autonomous Women's Centre, and is supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy of the German Marshal Fund of the U.S. and American people through U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).