the invisible first line

The campaign raises funds for crisis and counselling centres in the country, which are at the forefront of the fight against domestic violence, in response to increased cases. On the eve of November 25 – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and on the occasion of the UN global initiative “16 days of activism against gender-based violence”, we from the Bulgarian Fund for Women presentThe Invisible First Line – a charity campaign in support of the crisis and counselling centres in Bulgaria, which are at the forefront in the fight against domestic violence by helping the affected women and children. There are only 17 centres for the whole country, and the services they provide are systematically underfunded. According to the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and according to WHO, every third woman is a victim of violence, and since the beginning of anti-epidemic measures and isolation, the situation has deteriorated in many homes. According to media reports, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 42 women have lost their lives killed by their former or current partners, sons, fathers, or other men close to them. The organizations that manage the hotlines for victims of violence report an increase in signals by about 30%, and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria reports a threefold increase in domestic violence cases in 2021. Domestic violence is a hidden pandemic that has long taken hold in homes in Bulgaria and is different from that caused by the coronavirus. The cases of women and children victims of violence who are currently seeking support are much more serious and require immediate help and protection. Through the Invisible First Line campaign, we at the Bulgarian Women’s Fund aim to tell the stories of psychologists, lawyers and social workers from organizations that work on the front line by providing legal, psychological, and social services, managing crisis centres for temporary accommodation, counselling centres, hotlines for help and mobile services across the country and to raise funds for their urgent needs. These include measures against the spread of COVID-19, the payment of state legal fees for the representation of victims in court, additional hours of work of psychologists and lawyers due to the increased number of cases, textbooks for children and emergency humanitarian aid for women leaving the crisis centres, etc. The centres that the donations will reach to continue helping the dozens of women and children they work with every day are in the cities of Varna, Dimitrovgrad, Dupnitsa, Lovech, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Silistra, Stara Zagora, Sofia, Targovishte, Haskovo and others.