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Breaking the Silence - Conference on how Icelanders United Against Domestic Violence
For the last decade Iceland has been internationally recognized for being one of the most gender equal countries in the world. But does this mean that there are no challenges in Iceland when it comes to full gender equality?

The answer is of course, no. In all sectors of society, there is still work to be done to reach the goal of gender equality, especially when it comes to violence against women. In recent years the numbers of domestic violence cases reported to the police have been on the rise. The reason is not because violence against women has increased, the reason is increased awareness and a whole new way of systematically dealing with gender based violence.
In this conference we explore the innovative practices behind this development. This revolutionary work on how to fight and prevent violence against women began in 2012. The procedures that have been implemented as obligatory by the Commissioner of the Icelandic Police were developed in a small town on the South West Coast of Iceland. The key factor in the success of this project is the multi-sector approach that brings together all relevant services to ensure that the victims and perpetrators alike receive appropriate social, psychological and legal assistance.

The speakers at the conference are from various public institutions, civil society and academia, and have valuable experience when it comes to working within the new system. The conference is designed to inspire and benefit everyone working with domestic violence; whether it is in relation to policy, victims or perpetrators.

This conference is the last event of the project Breaking the Silence - End Violence against Women, co-funded by Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union. The objective of the project is to increase the capacity of the institutional infrastructure to be more sensitive and capable to work with victims of violence as well as increasing awareness through the campaign You have HOPE.

We look forward to welcoming you and to sharing success stories, best practices, imminent challenges and new insights from Iceland.


Keep the window open, how it all began and what the police are doing now: Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, head of the Metropolitan Police and former head of the South east Police Department. Sigríður Björk is the main pioneer of the multi sector approach in Iceland and will share with us how the work started and if it resulted in any changes for victims and perpetrators.

Together against violence...it is the only way: Halldóra Gunnarsdóttir is the project manager of Together Against Violence, the multi sector work in the capital Reykjavik. She will tell us about the beginning of the project and the focus of the project on the municipality level.

Domestic violence in Iceland – Statistical information from the police: Guðbjörg S. Bergsdóttir works at the Statistical Department of the State Police. Guðbjörg will give us insight into the statistics that police have when it comes to domestic violence in Iceland.

All that glitters is not gold: A critical account of Iceland as a ‘gender paradise’: Dr. Þorgerður Einarsdóttir is a professor of Gender Studies at the University of Iceland. She will explore the role of Iceland as an international leader of equality and the myth of Iceland as a gender equal paradise.

Intimate Partner Violence; Perpetrators' Personality Traits & Advice for Survivors: Drífa Jónasdóttir is a PhD student at the University of Iceland and a project manager at the Women´s Shelter in Iceland. She has conducted important research on perpetrators for the Women´s Shelter and will introduce her findings.

Why do people use violence in close relationships and is it possible to stop that behavior?: Andrés Ragnarsson, the head of Therapeutic Institutions for Perpetrators, will tell us why people use violence in close relationships and if it is possible to stop that violent behavior.

Is there a connection between addiction and domestic violence: Kristín I. Pálsdóttir is a spokesperson of The Root – Association on Women, Addiction and Mental Health. She will talk about the connection between domestic violence and addiction in the case of Iceland.

The Politics of Definitions: Violence and the Intersections of Gender and Disability: Freyja Haraldsdóttir is a feminist disability activist and a scholar from Iceland. She has a BA in social education, a MA in gender studies and is currently doing here PhD in education from the University of Iceland where she also works as an adjunct lecturer. Freyja is the former director of the Independent Living Centre in Iceland and is the co-leader of Tabú, a feminist disability movement.

How we build the bridges and break the walls: Fríða Rós Valdimarsdóttir is an advisor at the Directorate of Equality and project manager of the project Breaking the Silence - End Violence against Women. She will tell us what she has learned for the past two years when it comes to best practices and new insights into the fight against violence against women.
Organizer: Jafnréttisstofa
Submitted by: Jafnrettisdagatal
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29.08.2019 10:00-16:00
Reykjavik, Iceland