Marion Steffens

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Marion Steffens was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Marion has established several organizations for battered women, and recognizes the important role doctors and health care professionals play as the first points of contact for victims. Her answer: To build long-lasting regional alliances between health care professionals and the organizations that already exist to support victims of domestic abuse. By understanding that lack of time and resources are the main obstacles to cooperation, Marion created a hands-on, replicable, step-by-step engagement strategy that allows every region to build their own network and stresses the pragmatic benefits to all stakeholders.

With the first GESINE-Network beginning in the Ennepe-Ruhr Kreis district, Marion addresses the lack of support for victims of domestic abuse in three ways: GESINE provides training and information for health care professionals on how to detect domestic violence and recognize abuse as a root cause of health conditions. It also sensitizes professionals to adequately address the problem by listening and building trust instead of judging, and finally, by creating a referral system between doctors, other health care professionals, and women’s support organizations it guarantees quality of services for victims.

Founded in 2004 GESINE is designed to be replicable in other regions. Marion developed a train-the-trainer curriculum she is implementing with other European organizations. What is more, just four years after its founding, GESINE is acknowledged as the innovative approach in the sector by being showcased as the only nationwide model project, Medical Intervention Against Violence (MIGG), working within regions and with GPs. MIGG provides funding to further develop the spread of GESINE in other regions.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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