Marseille have turned their training centre into a place of refuge for domestic violence victims

It is one of many initiatives being discreetly carried out by Ligue 1 club Marseille during this period of health crisis and quarantine. OM have decided to house female victims of domestic violence or sexual assault at their Robert Louis-Dreyfus training centre. In the main building of the training centre, usually reserved for young footballers, Olympique de Marseille is currently making 44 beds available to the SOS Women 13 association. Over the past week, around twenty women and children have been staying at the Robert Louis-Dreyfus training centre.

During this period of quarantine, local authorities have recorded a sharp increase in the number of cases of violence against women. And associations that seek to combat these atrocities, have pointed to a lack of places of victims to go, with the usual hotels or places of accommodation where victims can typically be received currently closed. OM’s initiative is therefore greatly welcomed by Valérie Secco, director of the SOS Femmes 13 association, telling RMC:

“When there are already tensions in the family environment, they risk being reinforced by quarantine. Because people are lost and women have in difficulty in communicating with the outside world. The consequence of this quarantine is also that all the usual activities suddenly disappeared, leaving everyone to face each other. I thank OM and its president for this initiative. It was a team effort that allowed us to be reactive, in collaboration with our elected officials, the police, justice services, victims’ associations and child protection.”

SOS Femmes 13 is providing careers, educators and psychologists around the clock to look after individuals who are currently being housed by the RLD training centre.

On top of this, Marseille, who are giving three daily meals to all victims they are housing thanks to partner Sodexo, also internally organised an initiative where its employees who be able to donate toys, books and clothing for the victims being housed in the training centre.

Head of Operations at SOS Women 13, Vincent Robin, explained why the Marseille training centre is such an ideal location to do their work in providing safety for victims of domestic abuse:

“We get to use all of the advantages that OM have: catering, with meals a day, the cleanliness of the rooms, access to a football stadium, where we organise activities for children and their mothers, but also an area to do fitness, which allows the women to get some fresh air. OM’s donations have allowed us to set up an area full of toys in just 48 hours, so everyone can have fun.”

Carine Crépin, a psychologist who has been present at the Marseille training centre added:

“There is a lot of space, which allows us to differentiate the approach we take with single women compared with mothers. When women are in hotels, the procedure is different. There is less space and contact is made more by phone. I add a symbolic but very important factor: for teenagers who love OM, being here at the Commanderie allows them to find a smile, which is already a small victory.”

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