On the 12th of December 2017, the IARS International Institute in coordination with the IARS Women’s Advisory Board run the second free training workshop entitled “Empowering migrant and refugee women to claim their rights under the EU Victims Directive”.

The three hours interactive training workshop took place at Canada Water´s Library and was successfully delivered to a group of refugee, asylum-seeking, migrant and professional women within the framework of the 3-year Comic Relief funded "Gender and Justice Empowerment" project.

The training run BY and FOR refugees increased the understanding among participants of victims´ rights under the EU Victims Directive, as well as the competent authorities’ obligations under the EU Victims Directive and the UK Victims Code. It also focused on the reality of available support in the country, where to look for help and how to press for change.

We were delighted to see how at the end of the workshop participants manifested their interest in continue attending this kind of training sessions. For them,  these are safe spaces where they feel free to discuss different issues that affect them and other women; share knowledge and experiences; take with them updated information to share it with their communities; as well as feel empowered to continue advocating for their rights and press for better provisions and support services.

 “When you know your rights, you can feel confident to know what to do when a crime happens to you or someone you know.” (training participant)


For participants, professionals need to understand that asylum seekers have rights. If people are fully aware of their rights and professionals are well trained it makes things easier for victims to come forward. Training sessions like the ones provided by IARS empower women at the same time that urge competent authorities and organisations to play a significant role in identifying refugee women's support needs.

“It is imperative that each borough trains their staff to rightly guide and support victims of any crime, in particular victims of gender-based violence and domestic violence. While this happens, the best thing for organisations to do is to empower women on the ground to be aware of their rights.” (training participant)


The group recognised some of the government´s efforts in recent years to tackle gender-based violence and domestic violence, however, for them more needs to be done to reduce the number of cases on all the boroughs in London and cities in the UK. 

This training is directed at refugee and migrant women. We welcome organisations working with this group to contact us if they wish to organise this workshop for their users. 

For more information and to make a booking, please contact IARS Projects Coordinator (Equalities), Rosa Heimer at r.heimer@iars.org.uk or 020 706 44380.

More pictures from the training can be found at IARS Facebook: