networking against exclusion
Regional Victim Counseling Projects
sla 06/09/2005 - 01:31 Array
The office in Wurzen is one of three AMAL counseling centers for people affected by extreme-right violence in Saxony. The people working in the three offices, which are supported by the Netzwerk für Demokratische Kultur (Network for Democratic Culture) in Wurzen, see themselves as the AMAL Saxony Team.
The counseling center is currently working on a variety of cases in the outskirts of Wurzen as well as in other areas of Saxony. On the day of the final match of the soccer World Cup, for example, at least 5 non-Germans fell victim to extreme-right thugs in Chemnitz.
ReachOut wants to help create social conditions in which all people are guaranteed the same chances for access to social resources. ReachOut is directed towards people who are affected by extreme-right, racist and anti-Semitic attacks and threats. In Berlin, this includes primarily refugees and migrants, but African-Germans, Jews, non-right youths (hip-hoppers, skaters, punks, etc.), lesbians and gays, the socially disadvantaged (homeless, etc.) and people with disabilities are also attacked, threatened and taunted.
The counseling at ReachOut is partisan, free, voluntary, confidential, based on trust, commensurate with the needs of the those seeking help, and, if desired, anonymous. The work of the center focuses on supporting the counselees and helping them to win back their self-determination after the attack and to strengthen their feeling of self-worth. On the initiative of ReachOut members, and with their participation, a project of men and women immigrants was developed with the aim of promoting the self-organization and self-representation of potential victims of attack.
ABAD supports victims of extreme-right violence by providing advice on possibilities for legal intervention. They help in looking for witnesses, provide support on visits to government offices and accompany attack victims in court proceedings. They also arrange psychotherapy if it is necessary as a result of the attack.
ABAD documents racist discrimination and informs the public from the perspective of those affected. The counseling center also provides practical advice on how to deal with threats.
There are now 6 full-time employees in the association, »Opferperspektive e.V.« (Victim Perspective). Although they had begun with the noble goal of dividing their work equally – as regards both the area of work and the time spent on it – soon, everyone had developed their own special areas of interest and responsibility. It was decided that, as far as possible, everyone should be active in the central area of victim counseling, but that fields like public relations, finance and youth and adult training should be assigned to individual employees, depending on their areas of interest. The association’s work is not limited to supporting individual victims. Discussing concrete measures, and creating safe public spaces together with as many people as possible, is more significant.
There is no generally recognized training for victim counselors – it is much more important for the association that their employees are familiar with the issues of right-wing extremism and racism, and that they are socially/politically engaged and ready to act on their convictions. »Victim Perspective« offers politically interested young people the opportunity to complete an internship in the counseling center. Ideally, the intern would then would given a limited work contract, for example to work on a counseling brochure.
The association joined the organization, agOra (The Working Committee for the Counseling Project for Victims of Racist, Extreme-Right and Anti-Semitic Violence), because agOra too works on the principle, »alone we’re weak, but together we’re strong.« Victim Perspective is convinced that their work will find greater resonance in the umbrella organization, whose campaign, »Residency Rights for Victims of Extreme-Right Violence«, they very much welcome. They know from their practical experience that refugees are often attacked and beaten up, and that in addition to dealing with the effects of the attack, they are very afraid of being deported.
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