M.J. López-Sánchez, J.A. Belso-Martínez

Universidad Miguel Hernandez (SPAIN)
A group of European institutions working at European level had been discussing for some time, gaps in the expertise and training of vocational guidance practitioners, but one area still missing, however, is: a focus on a section of society that cross-cuts social groups: victims of abuse.

The term “abuse” here, covers a wide range of situations, including but not limited to domestic abuse, sexual degradation and severe exploitation in the labour market. Many victims, after leaving the abusive situation, have difficulty moving into education or the mainstream labour market, and so present a problem for vocational guidance.

The innovative character of the Leonardo da Vinci project “HOPE”: Giving HOPE to victims of abuse through vocational guidance and counselling, co-financed by the European Commission, lies in making the link between victims of abuse, vocational guidance and other helping organisations.

The 3 main goals in this project are:
- To Support the training of Vocational Guidance Counsellors in supporting victims of abuse;
- To link guidance with other helping agencies, such as health services, social work, education, psychologists, the police and special needs support groups; and
- To incorporate men as well as women into consideration of the labor market effects of abuse

This project involved designing and making freely available a training programme, in the form of a curriculum and associated reading materials, tools and methods, for the main target group, with the ultimate beneficiaries being victims of abuse who will be better assisted to access and succeed in vocational and educational training and employment.
The course was tested this year 2013 by some participants of the HOPE project, the main conclusions are presented in this communication.