16 Days of Activism to Promote and Protect Specialist Women’s Services

 25 Nov – 10 Dec 2016


Points and sources

  • It is a human rights obligation to provide support services to women and children subjected to violence.

Source: A recent legal ruling has established that failure to provide access to immediate protection (in this case where a victim could not access a shelter and had no legal or other avenues to create safety) will mean a state is in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence against Women. See AT v Hungary – CEDAW Committee Recommendation No. 19 para 24 (r) (iii); Beijing Platform Strategic Objective D1 para 125 (a), echoed by the Secretary General at p80 of his report; CEDAW Committee Decision 2005 Communication No.2/2003.


  • Services that address the gendered dynamics of violence lead to better outcomes than those that are ‘neutral’ or generic. 

Sources: Queensland sexual assault services (2010) The Right to Choose Enhancing best practice in responding to sexual assault in Queensland

http://www.communitydoor.org.au/sites/default/files/Right%20to%20choose%20final%20pdf%20with%20covers.pdf; Nichols, A. (2011) ‘Gendered Organizations: Challenges for Domestic Violence Victim Advocates and Feminist Advocacy’, Feminist Criminology, 6(2), 111-113. The United Nations General Assembly (1993) ‘Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ recognises that violence against women is a cause and consequence of gender inequality and states that services should be delivered based on this understanding. G.A. res 48/104, 1993 (DEVAW) http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/48/a48r104.htm article 4 (g).

  • Women and children dealing with violence report being more satisfied with gender-sensitive specialist services than with generic services. 

Sources: Chung, D., Colley, D. and Zannettino, L. (2004) Effective Integrated Approaches in the Delivery of Services and Responses for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence, Research and Education Unit on Gendered Violence, University of South Australia, Adelaide and Partnerships Against Domestic Violence, Canberra; Zannettino, L. (2006) Better Outcomes for the Protection of Children Affected by Domestic Violence: Developing Interagency Collaboration between Child Protection and Domestic Violence Services: A Research Report, Research and Education Unit on Gendered Violence in partnership with the Department for Families and Communities, South Australia

  • International standards say women-only and women-led services must be a central part of the service response to violence. 

Sources: Council of Europe (2006) Combatting Violence Against Women: Stocktaking study on the measures and actions taken in Council of Europe member states (2006)

http://avrupa.info.tr/fileadmin/Content/Downloads/PDF/CDEG(2006)3_en.pdf; Council of Europe (2008) Combating violence against women: minimum standards for support  services (2008)

http://www.coe.int/t/dg2/equality/domesticviolencecampaign/Source/EG-VAW-CONF(2007)Study%20rev.en.pdfUN Women (2015) Essential Services Package for Women and Girls Subject to Violence Core Elements and Quality Guidelines 



Read our Policy Brief on the Role of Specialist Women’s Services here.