Virtual advice centre for girls and young women at risk of or affected by forced marriage

1,000 Euro Prize 2013

Country: Austria

Region: Vienna

Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy

Fields of action: Gender-sensitive work

Project owner: Orient Express - Beratungs-, Bildungs- und Kulturinitiative für Frauen

Responsible person: Hannah Mayr

What is it about?

For the first time in Austria, young women who were married against their will or who are threatened with a forced marriage can receive completely anonymous advice and care through a special, secure online platform (https://orientexpress.beranet.info); this also means that the use of this site cannot be traced after the event. The chat takes place in German, Turkish, Arabic, and English and can be short and to the point or intensive and last up to half a year. The longer it lasts, the more likely it is to lead to personal consultation. Applications occur online, via flyers, at school workshops and at information sessions for disseminators. Each month, more than 15 new requests for advice are received.

Appreciation of the Jury

Above all those girls and women who are new to Austria, but also those who went to school here and may have even completed a course of study can be affected, especially in the summer months. Each affected woman should be able to turn to a competent advisor completely anonymously and without fear of being caught. That needs to be possible without great effort and that´s the project´s innovation: thanks to the online platform the inhibition threshold is lowered. It is also important that the girl or woman in question be able to leave the chat quickly, because freedom of movement for affected women as well as those wishing to help them is typically very limited. For that reason the chat needs to be possible from anywhere at any time and needs to be able to be interrupted immediately.