2023 ISA Manual
The ISA manual and the ISA questionnaire to self-assess gender-based violence relapse risk have been introduced in Italy by Differenza Donna through a Daphne project in 2008.
Owing to the European Project FuTuRE (Fostering Tools of Resilience and Emersion of GBV with intersectional perspective), in 2023 Differenza Donna updated the ISA manual and questionnaire, in order to include the most recent developments of male violence against women in intimate relationships, as well as taking into account the multiple forms of violence and discrimination women can be exposed to. The ISA manual and questionnaire are currently available in 15 languages, in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), and can be accessed both in paper and digital form.
Gender-based violence against women has been recognised by the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (hereinafter referred to as “Istanbul Convention”) as a human rights violation and « a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men, which have led to domination over, and discrimination against, women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women».
Gender-based violence can affect women of any country, culture, religion, social background, and level of education. The phenomenon is widespread, although its true magnitude is unknown.
The most common form of gender-based violence against women is commonly referred to as domestic violence, namely all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family or domestic unit or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim (Art.3 Istanbul Convention).
The violence women can be subjected to in intimate relationships, perpetrated by current or former partners, is a pervasive form of violence that destroys feelings of love, trust and self-esteem, with a significant negative impact on women's physical and mental health.
It may be difficult for women to recognise violence straight away, especially when it takes the most subtle forms, and many violent behaviours may be minimised, normalised and justified, due to violence often meeting social acceptance. Recognising violence is crucial in order to identify and name it, to spot the factors defining violent behaviour and prevent it from escalating.
It may be particularly hard to unveil violence when it occurs together with the feeling of falling in love, the sense of security attached to a relationship or when subjected to social, cultural, religious or family pressure.
Becoming aware, asking for help and support, is vital. But how?
This brief guide and the ISA self-administered questionnaire may be useful.
The “ISA” acronym stands for Increasing Self Awareness, that is, increasing your awareness of what is going on.
ISA may support you in understanding:
- what has been happening in your current or former relationship, regarding which you do not feel free to make a choice;
- to what extent you run the risk that your current or former partner will continue being violent toward you, and whether you should ask for help or continue benefiting from the support services you already mobilised.