Fighting Violence Against Women: JCU Welcomes Telefono Rosa Representatives

Professor Antonella Salvatore’s Professional Skills for Career Development class welcomed Telefono Rosa representative Renata Severi and volunteer Laura Vassalli for a talk called “Fighting Violence Against Women” on October 8, 2021. Telefono Rosa is an association dedicated to helping women who are victims of violence and abuse.

Founded in Rome in 1988 by journalist Giuliana Massari Dal Pozzo, Telefono Rosa was established following research on women who are victims of domestic violence. Headquartered in Rome, over time the association grew and branched out to six other Italian cities. The association provides counseling services, legal, and psychological assistance, parenting support, self-help groups, activities, and training.

Telefono Rosa

Telefono Rosa

Severi explained that Telefono Rosa currently runs three anti-violence centers, two shelter homes, and one halfway house. Anti-violence centers focus on creating a personalized plan for each woman while also providing counseling and support. Shelter homes are facilities that provide safe accommodation for women who might be in danger, along with their children. Residents are given all the primary necessities, and minors can participate in education programs. In order to protect the residents, the address of shelter homes is undisclosed. The halfway house prepares women for their transition from shelter homes to independent living arrangements.

Telefono Rosa is comprised of psychologists, civil and criminal lawyers, cultural and linguistic mediators, teachers, social workers, volunteers, and interns. In order to become a volunteer, candidates must have an interview with the association’s president and a psychologist, who evaluate their personality. If they get accepted as volunteers, they must undergo three months of training, and then do a second interview.

“We use a team-building methodology named Stronger Together, based on the recognition of women’s dignity, and dedicated to building their self-confidence and self-fulfillment,” said Severi. Operators need to be women, because “gender mirroring is empowering,” added Severi.

Telefono Rosa collaborates with authorities and institutions, and provides training courses to law enforcement officers, social and health care workers, and educators, among others. It also raises awareness through educational projects mostly aimed at young people. Every 25th of November, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Telefono Rosa organizes an event at the Teatro Quirino in Rome, where about 800 high school students listen to important guests, such as Nobel Peace Prize winners, discuss the issue of gender-based violence.

Since it is a private institution, Telefono Rosa does not receive public funds and relies on donations. In 2021, the association launched SosTeenGo, a fundraising campaign that ran from May to mid-July, aimed at providing financial support to young people who used to live in shelter homes. One of the projects launched by Telefono Rosa is called E-Love, a platform active in Europe that provides courses to strengthen the skills of operators regarding gender-based violence. Moduli Rosa is another platform that provides training on witnessed violence. Another project is UP&UP, a platform for training teachers on the prevention of male violence against women.

The speakers invited JCU students who are interested in working for Telefono Rosa and developing their soft skills to apply for an internship.