Telefono Donna is a non-profit organization founded on initiative of Stefania Bartoccetti on March 8 1992.Its mission is to provide support and aid to women, families and children in distress by offering free legal, psychological, cultural, social, sociological and medical advice through a 24/7 telephone service and through face to face counselling with experts and voluntary professionals. Up to today, Telefono Donna offered its support to over 91.000 people.
When operating in particularly difficult situations or in delicate scenarios, Telefono Donna always focuses its action on a two-fold level, that of prevention (through awareness raising campaigns and training courses) and that of support (providing immediate aid to women in situations at risk or in distress or danger). We believe in a global approach that goes from monitoring problematic situations to identifying their causes and impacts, from the development of solutions to the development of a widespread awareness raising action.
Telefono Donna is registered to the Registro Generale Regionale delle Associazioni di Volontariato e di Solidarietà Familiare and part of the C.N.D.I. (Consiglio Nazionale Donne Italiane – National Council of Italian Women). Telefono Donna is also affiliated to the Conseil International des Femmes of the United Nations. Our organization acts with the sponsorship of Region Lombardia and of the Municipality of Milan and has received a certificate of civic merit.
Telefono Donna is eager and willing to expand its network and to cooperate with international and European partners active in the same or in complementary fields, within the framework of EU funded projects in line with its mission and priorities.
Phone center and self-help groups:
- The phone center service offers free and immediate support to: women in distress that need to express their problems and their social difficulties at work or within their family context; women victims of psychological or physical abuse and violence; women in need of aid (legal, medical, psychological) on specific matters; women interested in receiving information on the legal framework concerning difficulties within the family contest; women suffering from depression, panic attacks and solitude.
- Self-help groups are aimed at helping women dealing with issues such as psychological or physical abuse, panic attacks, low self-esteem, and family issues.
Legal and psychological counselling, help desks and online services:
- In 2010, Telefono Donna activated two anti-stalking desks, active 24/7 in two hospitals of Milan and Lecco (Azienda Ospedaliera Niguarda Cà Granda of Milan and Ospedale Manzoni of Lecco), where Telefono Donna’s experts offer psychological support, counselling services and legal aid to women victims of gender based violence and abuse.
- Telefono Donna has activated a help desk (Pink Desk) inside the hospital A.O. Niguarda Cà Granda and in the Municipality of Magenta. The help desk is aimed at providing support, information and psychological aid to women in search of a job. Telefono Donna obtained new sponsorships as the model has given many results and produced a significant impact on local communities. In 2004 the model was transferred to other EU member states thanks to the Leonardo da Vinci II Programme funded project “Pink Window'. The resulting model is the product of a comparative study of good practice in the sector of guidance to women and of the feedback from those involved, as well as the study of the needs and expectations of women, tested through the opening of two pilot projects in Riga, Latvia and Bucharest, Romania.
Training courses and job mentoring projects:
- In 2000, Telefono Donna has activated a kindergarten for the children of the staff of the Azienda Ospedaliera Fatebenefratelli–Oftalmico of Milan. The aim of the kindergarten is to contribute to achieve equal working opportunities for women.
- Telefono Donna has created and delivered several training courses for social operators involved in the field of prevention of gender violence and violence against minors, funded by the European Social Fund.
Campaigns and networking:
- Donna’s campaigns are aimed at raising citizens’ awareness on topics such as domestic gender-based violence and stalking phenomena.
- Since 2006 TD is part of the network against violence promoted by the Municipality of Milan (rete antiviolenza);
- Telefono Donna was mapped by the Ministry of Equal Opportunities;
The association Telefono Donna builds on the work of volunteers coordinated and supervised by professionals. The work of the volunteers is extremely important to extend and complete the services offered by the Organization, even if it often becomes necessary to deal with knowledge and skills not entirely suited to the role. In order for all volunteers to perform the required functions, Telefono Donna performs an accurate selection and activates specific training for volunteers. In addition to the volunteers, a professional is always present, ready to intervene in any situation of impasse.
Telefono Donna uses a "flat", non-hierarchical organizational structure to deal with time management and the roles of volunteers and professionals. The organizational structure is based on functional areas of responsibility, fragmented into a plurality of elementary functions.
The operating mechanisms (accountability, responsibilities, procedures, professionals involved, etc.) find expression in a horizontal structure as follows: in every area of the Organization, professional levels are at most two: a "basic" specialist and an "excellence" specialist, who primarily works as a consultant and programmer for activities and shifts. Special committees, representing each area of responsibility, meet regularly to monitor ongoing activities. Finally, the President of the association supports all areas of responsibility.
Operating roles that govern the functions required for the development of Telefono Donna are all proven professionals, who have acquired yearlong experience inside the Organization and have therefore developed expertise both in the field of support and intervention, both in the relational work within the association and with the local authorities. Main professional figures are:
- Legal advisor
- Referent for the coordination of the organization's ordinary activities
- Referent for the external stakeholders.
The synergy of these four figures ensures positive intervention even in the most problematic situation.