Quality features of successful anti-discrimination counselling

Quality features of successful anti-discrimination counselling:

1. Framework conditions on site:
Aids service organisations (Aidshilfen) are competent contacts for people with HIV seeking advice and support in cases of discrimination. In addition, as specialist organisations for the topic of HIV and the reduction of HIV-related discrimination, they are available to other institutions such as healthcare facilities (e.g. hospitals, doctors' surgeries, nursing schools), trade unions, political parties and anti-discrimination agencies.

2. Further training and expertise
In order to be able to offer anti-discrimination counselling, knowledge of the most important legal principles and confidence in dealing with complaints are essential. In addition, a central feature of effective anti-discrimination work is knowledge of the structures of the counselling landscape and good networking.

3. Counselling attitude
A counselling approach that takes the side of those seeking advice has always been common in Aids service organisations (Aidshilfen). This also applies to anti-discrimination counselling, which is based on the concept of empowerment: It starts with the strengths and competences of the person seeking advice and encourages them to bring their own resources to bear in solving problems, promotes self-help, establishes social networks and sees itself as a political advocacy group that is aware of social power structures and the structural dimension of discrimination. In order to provide counselling in this sense, knowledge of the reality of life of those seeking advice is of great importance. Ideally, the counsellor has the same background as the person seeking advice (peer2peer) or acquires target group-specific skills.

4. The counselling process should follow these guidelines in its design

a) The counsellor and the person seeking counselling establish a relationship that is relevant to the counselling and the counselling context (suitable setting, personal introduction, brief outline of the field of work).

b) The counsellor and the person seeking advice look at the initial situation together and discuss expectations, clarify the assignment and the goals for the counselling.

c) The counsellor and the person seeking advice work out possible solutions by consensus.

d) Depending on the counselling assignment, a power of attorney/release of confidentiality must be signed by the person seeking counselling.

e) Counselling sessions must be documented for further work and for use in the counselling centre. The documentation should be standardised and anonymous for the purposes of comparability and statistical surveys and reported back to the DAH.

5. Dovetailing Aids service organisations (Aidshilfen) and self-help organisations

It is possible to change and improve the living situation of people with HIV by empowering individuals and strengthening the community. Discrimination is a structural phenomenon that reflects social power relations.

6. Networking with other organisations involved in anti-discrimination work

The success of anti-discrimination work lies in networking. In AGG-relevant cases, close cooperation with or referral to anti-discrimination centres that can support people in legal proceedings is important. The establishment of structures with co-operation partners is therefore of great importance. Specialised expertise is available here to support their own work and provide further training. At the same time, the topic of HIV-related discrimination can be anchored in other institutions.

7. Anti-discrimination work as a cross-sectional task of the DAH

At the DAH, anti-discrimination work is a cross-cutting issue that is an integral part of further training, media and public relations work.