Call for pilot projects: We Will Survive Secondary Trauma

RESISTIRÉ is funding pilot projects creating a Community of Practice for people working with gender-based violence survivors to address their risk of secondary trauma and burn-out and to foster a more resilient and supportive ecosystem, ensuring that they receive the support they need.

RESILIENT TOGETHER – We will survive secondary trauma: A digital platform to cultivate the wellbeing of people working with survivors of gender-based violence

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) increased, including digitally-enabled violence. Lockdowns, increased isolation, movement restrictions and similar limiting measures have contributed to the intensification of the phenomenon, both in real life and online. The sector combating and responding to gender-based violence, while being extraordinarily supportive, has also been shaken by the crisis, showing some of its structural fragilities. 

RESISTIRÉ’s research shows that most of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) of European countries do not mention GBV among the areas to be funded through recovery strategies. Nor do they mention digital violence and how to tackle this growing phenomenon. Furthermore, support mechanisms for people working with victims/survivors of gender-based violence, including digital violence, are not addressed in the plans.

However, practitioners in this field are highly exposed to the risk of suffering secondary trauma, burn-out, compassion fatigue, exhaustion or depression. Often these people, due to their overwork, ignore their need for self-care or even fail to recognise it.

While numerous studies and literature document the occurrence and importance of secondary trauma, less research and programmes have been devoted to its prevention, as well as strategies and actions to counter it. The creation of safe spaces for exchange on secondary trauma, as well as the development of peer support programmes were called for during RESISTIRÉ’s last Open Studio and served as the basis for the innovative action under this call. 

This pilot project aims to bridge the gap by creating a Community of Practice (CoP) for people working with GBV victims and survivors. The CoP is intended to create a co-learning model, as well as being a peer-support and solidarity group, empowering people who are at risk of experiencing secondary trauma and burn-out, while also contributing to the creation of a more resilient and supportive ecosystem of people dealing with GBV. 


what should the project achieve?

The overall objective of this pilot action is to cultivate the wellbeing of people responding to victims-survivors of GBV, including digital GBV, to address their risk of secondary trauma and to foster a working environment and/or organizational mechanism to ensure that they receive the support they need. This will be achieved through the creation of a Community of Practice whose goal is to empower social workers, NGO workers and volunteers responding to and supporting victims-survivors of GBV who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing secondary trauma and burn-out, as well as to increase their resilience and the impact of their work. 

The creation of a CoP should lead to realizing the following specific objectives:  

  • To increase awareness and understanding of secondary trauma, so that respondents to GBV are able to recognise when they themselves require assistance and support 
  • To create a set of interactive tools that help identify, address, and prevent individual and organizational risks of secondary trauma and burn-out 
  • To build a solidarity and co-learning network so that respondents to GBV can benefit from diverse, multi-agency, multi-site experiences and better stories of capacity-building, well-being, self-care and community care towards a more resilient and supportive ecosystem of dealing with GBV. 


What sort of projects are we looking for?

The project should be based on the following cross-cutting elements:

  • DIGITAL violence as a particular focus: While the platform does not exclusively address the needs of respondents to digital GBV (as respondents often deal with other forms of GBV as well), it should develop support networks, tools and mechanisms that address the challenges and needs unique to this intensifying form of GBV.  
  • Participatory approach: Using an open-ended co-creation process involving stakeholders at various levels in order to:
    – Give voice to the various respondents to victims-survivors of GBV (as central actors and key targets in this initiative)
    – Enable a sense of “shared ownership” in the initiative and its outcomes.
  • Collaboration with experts: Emphasizing the role of experts, particularly mental health specialists, in the platform; allocating a budget to allow them to participate in both co-creation and implementation efforts.
  • The importance of language in such an initiative: Using affirmative language to communicate the ideal of ‘thriving’ rather than mere survival; emphasis on the importance of prevention, healing and well-being in the face of secondary trauma and burn-out.
  • Gender+ Perspective: Making sure that the network is diverse and inclusive of organizations and individuals that work with GBV among vulnerable communities.


Timeframe and funding

The pilot project will run from October 2022 to May 2023.

The maximum grant amount for the project is 35,000€.


Who can apply?

Projects should be implemented in one of the countries involved in the RESISTIRÉ project (EU27+ Turkey, Serbia, Iceland and the United Kingdom) except Spain, Austria and Turkey, since applicants from these already received funding to implement the first cycle pilot projects.

Eligible applicants are non-governmental organizations, associations, foundations, research centres, and initiatives whose work focus on responding to GBV. They must have prior experience in designing and delivering wellbeing activities for those working on GBV, as well as in developing peer-learning models such as communities of practice and solidarity networks.


How to apply?

This call is now closed

Do you have a question?

To support your applications, a set of frequently asked questions will be regularly updated with applicants’ requests.

If you haven’t found your answer in the Open Call Guidelines, you are also welcome to contact us at: aglietti[at]knowledge-innovation-org and marina.cacace[at]