Who we are
The mission of our non-govermental and non-profit organisation is to eliminate violence against women, our priorities include helping victims of domestic violence, sexual or other gender-based violence by providing legal and social counseling and preventing violence against women through education, as well as political and legislative lobbying. Our activities are based on the principles of human dignity, personal freedom and equality.
proFem was founded in February 1994 as a consultant center for women´s projects. Its mission was to support Czech and Central European women's organizations in creating their own organizational structures, seeking financial resources and setting up cooperation with foreign organizations. Most organizations in Central and Eastern Europe lacked these skills after the fall of the Communist regime. Thanks to the commitment, energy and perseverance of our founders, some of the supported organizations - such as La Strada, dealing with trafficking in human beings - are now independent, strong and internationally well-involved NGOs.
Over the years we started to focus on direct work with women afflicted by various forms of violence, since the situation of gender-based violence in Czech Republic was (and in many forms still is) very serious. Our legal help went hand in hand with legislative work on the issue of violations of women's rights, particularly in the area of domestic violence. Almost ten years of our awareness-raising work, media campaigns and legislative and political lobbying led to the anchoring of domestic violence in Czech criminal law, where this term did not exist before. In autumn 2003, thanks to our systematic work, a draft of Section 215a of the Criminal Code was adopted, which allows the aggressor who abuses a close person or a person living with them in a common household to be sentenced to imprisonment. On the basis of our proposals, the very concept and definition of domestic violence came into Czech criminal law in 2006 by the Act on Protection against Domestic Violence, specifically by the introduction of the Institute of Expulsion. Since January 1, 2007, a policeman can expel an aggressor from the household in which they live together with the victim and forbid them to enter.
We provide the following direct services to victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence:
- social and legal counseling, which is confidential and free of charge
- intervention centers – specified social service in the Czech Republic focusing solely on victims of domestic violence. We run Intervention centers in Central-Bohemian region, specifically in cities of Pribram, Benesov, and Beroun
- legal helpline – provided twice a week, a phone legal counseling provided by our lawyers
- online counseling – provided by our social workers who respond to online questions filled in a questionnaire on our website, the question is responded within 10 days
- chat counseling – provided twice a week by our social workers or psychotherapists
When the situation of a client requires it, we are also providing the services of our psychotherapists and attorneys for free or with co-financing by the client.
Not only we provide direct services to domestic violence and sexual violence victims/survivors, but we also strive to cover the topic of domestic and sexual violence from different perspectives, to contribute to their elimination. Therefore in various projects we are also active in topics such as teen dating violence prevention and awareness-raising; we work with future professionals such as students of law or social work to ensure that they receive as much information about domestic and sexual violence as possible and therefore do not tend to perceive this topic within the frame of still widespread myths; we discuss with doctors and hospitals the best possible ways of detecting domestic violence victims among their patients; and so on.
Workshops and courses – we organize accredited courses for social workers and other helping professionals or workshops for high-school or elementary-school students
Research and publishing – we conduct researches on domestic and sexual violence and publish professional studies, analysis, thematic manuals, case studies, and information documents
Lobby - we also focus on political and legislative lobbying. In the framework of the Committee on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Violence against Women at the Governing Council for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, we contribute to tackling the complex structural problems associated with the eradication of domestic and sexual violence.
Awareness-raising – we are organizing various public events and awareness-raising campaigns, not only during the International Women's Day (8 March) or the International Day against Violence against Women (25 November) but also as a part of our other projects or activities. You can also follow us on our Facebook or Instagram.
We are part of the Coalition of Organizations against Domestic Violence, the Czech Women's Lobby, the European Women's Lobby and the WAVE European Networks. Together with our partners in the Czech Republic and abroad, we are responsibly building respect for victims of domestic and sexual violence and positively changing the situation of women in the Czech Republic.