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Professional counselling for gender-based violence survivors
"The biggest obstacle for me to leave was economic dependency. I didn’t know how to make a new start without money".

“During my marriage, my husband used to take advantage of my whole salary. I had a part-time job and mostly raised the kids. I wanted to leave for a long time because he was abusive but I found it very difficult. I didn’t know how to make a new start with no money”.

Irene made it. With the support of her family and friends, with great difficulties in the beginning, she escaped from the abusive marriage she had lived in for 8 years. 

When she visited the Diotima Centre, her request was to be able to find a job with better pay, closer to the subject she had studied.

Professional Counselling

Diotima Centre’s counsellors provide personalized professional counselling to unemployed and working survivors of gender-based violence. “The purpose of occupational counselling is to adopt and implement a model of short-term intervention aimed at promoting employment,” says Varvara Markaki, an employment counsellor.

“Often women who experience domestic violence, when they manage to escape the abuse, face urgent economic issues concerning child rearing or their own basic living needs.

They are women that might have been out of the labour market for many years because their abusive husbands did not allow them to work. Many times, because of the abuse they have experienced, they have low self-confidence issues or reduced self-efficacy. This makes it difficult for them to reintegrate into the labour market,” says Varvara Markaki, an employment counsellor.

A new start

“When I came to the Diotima Centre, I wanted to make a new start. I wanted a new job. I had studied graphic design and wanted to practice it. The job I was doing had nothing to do with it. However, there was a doubt ingrained in me that I wouldn’t make it and that I would always fail, as with my marriage. I kept hearing a voice inside me saying “You’re no good at anything” as M. would say to me.” Irene says.

“One of the first things we address is to record their skills, their positive and strong elements, emphasising their description and self-presentation, slowly empowering and strengthening their self-image. 

Afterwards, we create a career plan together and the women are trained in learning job search techniques. This can range from searching for job advertisements to identifying useful skills that would make their CV more competitive and attractive.

We record their goals and the obstacles they may face and set a realistic timeline”, Varvara underlines.  

“This process helped me a lot. This year I passed the Proficiency English exam and did several seminars on my subject. I have already found a part-time job as a graphic designer and I do some outsourcing work as a freelancer. But the best part is that I believe I will achieve more”, Irene says.

Equal opportunities for all

For 2024, the Diotima Centre provides job counselling to unemployed and working survivors of gender-based violence through the EQUALL – Equal Opportunities for All action.

The action is designed and implemented in strategic cooperation with Piraeus Bank in the context of the Corporate Social Responsibility program “EQUALL – For a Society of Equal People” as part of the Gender Equality pillar. 

The action aims to respond in a targeted way to the need for empowerment, economic and social self-sufficiency, and independence of survivors of gender-based violence, supporting their efforts to escape from abuse and support an independent life.

If you need support contact us at 210-3244380 or For more information about the program here.

**”EQUALL – Equal Opportunities for All” is part of Piraeus Bank’s multi-faceted EQUALL program for an equal society and includes as its main pillars gender equality, and support to the younger generation and vulnerable social groups. EQUALL’s actions aim to eliminate gender discrimination, exclusion, and stereotypes, eradicate all forms of violence, empower women and vulnerable people, and promote equal opportunities for all to have access to education, culture, economic independence, and personal development.

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