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Accord for the promotion of equality and prevention of domestic violence

espaidones webToday, the president of the Formentera Island Council, Jaume Ferrer, together with Maria Antònia Ferragut, the president of the association Espai Dones, signed a collaborative accord between the two entities. The accord will serve to strengthen and formalise the close collaboration that has come to exist between the two entities on the issue of equality.

As part of the accord the Council will grant 2,500€ for actions promoting equality and working toward domestic violence prevention. Likewise, Espai Dones commits to programming awareness-raising activities and actions around women's rights and domestic abuse issues. To reach this objective, educational activities and talks are held on subjects of equality and increasing sensibility toward the rights of the woman.

The association was created in 2007 to implicate native Formentera women in the struggle for equality. The Formentera Council's Office of Equality works in close concert with the feminist association, mainly for the events related to the Day of the Woman Worker (8 March) and the International Day against Domestic Violence (25 November), both relevant milestones in the path toward effective equality, but also on women's empowerment issues and violence prevention/rejection. Acts of violence are too present in our societies, and although anyone can be affected, there is nevertheless a greater incidence among women and children.

The Council as a collective is of the opinion that training on equality issues is fundamental to reducing domestic abuse. It is on these issues that the Office of Equality works in conjunction with the Office of Culture, programming events that generate change and promote the advancement of gender equality, fomenting a culture of female empowerment. We consider that every woman must attain a certain empowerment in order to defend herself and prevent domestic violence, especially on an island as pluralistic and diverse as ours.

The Office of Social Welfare carries out two fundamental services for the women of Formentera, the first being immediate support for victims of domestic violence and the second – complementary and of unqualified importance – equal rights training and domestic violence prevention.

The support service for domestic abuse victims comprises immediate attention, mentoring and on-going support for the victims during periods of vulnerability. This service uses tools like the emergency social telephone line (24 hours/day), which relies on a close coordination with the Guardia Civil. The service is also complemented with home-visits when an immediate separation of the victim and her aggressor is necessary. This is realized in collaboration with the Eivissa Women's Office.

It is the duty of the Formentera Island Council – as established by article 31 of the regulatory Organic Law 1/2002 (22 March) on the right of association – to promote and facilitate the development of associations that work in the general public interest while still respecting a fundamental liberty and autonomy with respect to public authority. The law also states that these associations be accorded economic aid and assistance in the undertaking of their activity. To this effect, articles 70.20 of Organic Law 2/1983 (25 February) of the Balearic Islands' Statue of Autonomy, later modified by Organic Law 1/2007 (28 February), state that polices that deal with gender and work-family life balance are to be the remit of the different island councils.

Promoting healthy alternatives for Formentera nightlife

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The Formentera Council, as member of Balearic Islands Nightlife Platform and as the organisational body responsible for the prevention of addictive behaviour and the promotion of its healthy alternatives, has promoted the implementation of a series of directives aimed at the commissions charged with local holiday organisation, the goal being to avoid the problems associated with recreational nightlife from the medical, community and safety standpoints.

The initiative is a response to the large number of popular celebrations organised in Formentera, especially in summer, including concerts and parties that imply the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Bars constitute a space which is central in these popular celebrations, not only with regard to fundraising but also with respect to attracting people from the public. In volunteer efforts, neighbours participate in the organisation of different events and take charge of all necessary elements of the festivities. This in turn impacts the functioning of the bars during such events, which, not based on formal professional activity, tend to undergo a loosening of limits with regard to minors of age, operating hours and consumption of alcohol.

The celebration of these traditional festivities and holidays brings – as an intrinsic effect – a massive affluence of visitors and residents, influencing the general tone of the parties (the consumption of alcohol and the disinhibition of eventgoers, in detriment to the cultural and historical backdrop of the events) and affecting an inherent increase in vehicle traffic and in the consumption of other substances.

Add this to the conclusions drawn from a study conducted by the prevention team of the Projecte Jove Balears (Balearic Youth Project) in April 2011 on the consumption of alcohol and other substances by the resident population in general and minors in particular. The study concluded that occasional alcohol consumption among youth in Formentera is higher than in the rest of the Balearic Islands.
 
A heightened consumption among youth of Formentera
According to a study carried out in 2011, on Formentera the consumption of alcohol at some point in time between the ages of 14 and 18 is 90%, a figure higher than both national and Balearic totals. Seventy-nine point four percent of 14 year olds have consumed alcohol at some point in their life and this figure, by 16, grows to 94.4%.

Among teenagers ages 14 and 15, more than half had consumed alcohol within the thirty previous days (52.8%), while 30% of youth between 16 and 18 consume alcohol exclusively at the weekend.

At this age (16 to 18 years old), weekly alcohol consumption (three or more days) reaches 22.6%, clearly higher than the national average (15.6%).

In Formentera, drug consumption begins at earlier agers (14.6) than the rest of Spain (15.2) and the Balearic community (15).

For these reasons, the local administration is recommending the adoption of a series of directives regarding authorisation permits for the sale of alcohol such bars. The objective is to make explicit the prohibition of alcoholic beverages to minors and to those individuals demonstrating symptoms of abuse, reinforcing this with signed commitments by bar representatives, all those in collaboration and all volunteers that serve alcohol as well.

In consonance with these objectives, and through the proposal of viable alternatives, the Council wishes to favour the raising of funds not dependent on the sale of alcohol. Likewise, it intends to inform residents of the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol and other drugs and of healthy activity, using informational stands to this end.

Nightlife Platform
The Council of Formentera is one of the institutions forming the Nightlife Platform, founded in 2011 by the Balearic Government's Department of Health, Family and Social Well-Being, across the General Direction of Health and Consumption and the Balearic Islands Addiction and Dependency Plan (PADIB), with the support of IREFREA (European Institute of Preventative Studies) as the scientific and technical secretary.

The platform considers its first goal “the elaboration of an analytical document, with the consensus of the industry, public administrations and organisations based in civic society, which allows a treatment of problems related to recreational nightlife activity from health, community and safety – and quality and image – perspectives”. This consensus consisted in commitments by all involved sectors.

Diverespai is back and ready for participation of approximately 700 children

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Once again the Office of Social Welfare and Youth Services have brought DIVERESPAI to Formentera, kicking off the Christmas holiday season with a very special set of activities for boys and girls from 3 to 12 years old.

The Formentera Diverespai will begin its 2013 run next Saturday and will remain open until 19 December, with hours of operation from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The mornings of the 17th, 18th and 19th use will be reserved for island schools, who have all scheduled visits.

The idea is for each of Formentera's educational centres to be able to take advantage of Diverespai during classtime hours, thus ensuring that the island's population of children is, in its near entirety, able to enjoy the installation. Every year roughly 700 boys and girls visit Diverespai.

The installation consists of an ensemble of activities and inflatable toys located in the gymnasium portion of IES Marc Ferrer, and play is supervised by different day counsellors.

At Diverespai children will find inflatable castles, animals and an assortment of stairs, nets and other obstacles to overcome. They will also have the possibility to take part in different themed-workshops and craft activities led by counsellors. If we take play as a tool in integration, one that promotes healthy socialization and teamwork, Diverespai serves as an excellent way to kick off the Christmas holiday.

Entertainment and safety at the play space will be overseen by a team of 12 counsellors, coordinated by the S'Espurna after-school play centre. Counsellors are on hand to accompany participating children in a space where they can learn to play, have fun, and develop their imagination and creativity with games. The event had a budget of 26 thousand euros, a sum that included bus service; set-up, take-down and  maintenance of facilities and hiring of personnel.

The inflatable toys at Diverespai include:
Koala Play Zone
Panama Canal
The Great Slide
Basketball Court
Happy Whale
Rubber Beds
Sumo Circuit
Mighty Mouse

Workshops offered:
Face-painting
Fischer Tips (play material made from Potato Starch and coloured with food dye that sticks to surfaces with a little bit of water)
Christmas (Christmas cards, decorations, etc.)
Videogames

Manifesto of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Espai Dones Formentera
actes25novembre_webEvery year on this day, 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women rears its head. A reminder to continue decrying the social ailment that is violence, a reminder of the victims this violence has left. We must continue to make clear that domestic violence is not a private problem; quite the contrary, it affects society as a whole. It is an expression of the inequity that exists between men and women, based on the supposed superiority of one sex over another. Domestic violence is a drama. It is a great problem in our society and, as such, it must be the collective cause taken up by everyone: men and women.

Silence and resignation are not the solution and they must never be. Neither for the victim of physical or psychological mistreatment nor for those of us that live with someone who is suffering. We cannot tolerate this. Society cannot allow the aggressors to win, and we are the ones that make up our society, the ones with the obligation to provoke change. Domestic violence is an ailment we have fought for years, but this year things are worse than last, because violence against women is being forgotten. Both the national and regional governments alike, with their policies of cutbacks, have caused us to lose ground. They are taking backward steps, the likes of which began with the first official communiqué from Minister Ana Mato that used the term “violence in the family environment” to describe a husband's killing of his wife.

The steps backward had just begun. The national government's budget since 2011 has reduced funding for the prevention of domestic violence by 27%, or more than 8 million euros. In our own autonomous community the Institut Balear de la Dona – an entity charged with fighting domestic abuse – has also seen its funding repeatedly cut. Then there was the PP's decision to tax users for a service that facilitated escape from their abusers, a devastating blow for those women attempting to break free from abusive relationships, one reason being the additional economic difficulties proportioned.

The Domestic Abuse Section of the General Council of the Judiciary (Consell General del Poder Judicial) has already made a serious claim: government cutbacks are responsible for the fact that many battered women, finding themselves once again in a situation of reduced protection, retract charges against their abusers. We can thus conclude that budget cuts in equality policies are putting women – and also their daughters and sons – in at-risk situations.

In the first 11 months of the year, nearly 50 women were killed at the hands of their current or ex-partners. Three of these cases occurred in the Balearics (one in Mallorca and two in Eivissa). However, our current government is one that does not condemn these killings. It does not engage in awareness action, and it is providing less and less support to victims.

Espai Dones wishes to address our society at large and political organisations and parties in particular in a call for a united defence: maintain the budgets and resources necessary to continue programming campaigns in prevention, awareness and support for women.

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Gabinet de Premsa
Cap de Comunicació i Premsa
Sr. Isidor Torres
Tel. 971 32 23 09
premsa@conselldeformentera.cat