State Agency to Establish Aid Centers

Last updated May 2010

Legislation should mandate a state agency to establish aid centres and legislation should fund the services. For example, the law of Georgia states that the Ministry of Labour, Healthcare and Social Protection shall determine minimal standards for temporary shelters for victims and batterer intervention centres. Article 21. For example, in Article 6, the law of Albania describes the responsibilities of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities as follows:

  • 1. The lead responsible authority has the following duties:
    • a. To develop and implement national strategies and programmes to offer protection and care to the victims of domestic violence;
    •  b. To finance and co-finance projects designed for the protection and consolidation of family and for the care of victims of domestic violence;
    • c. To assist the set up of support structures and all of the necessary infrastructure to support and fulfill all the needs of the persons subject to domestic violence, including financial assistance as well as social and health services pursuant to the law;
    • ç. To organise training sessions on domestic violence with social service employees at any local government unit, police structures and employees of NPOs licensed to offer social services;
    • d. To maintain statistical data on the level of domestic violence;
    • dh. To support and supervise the set up of rehabilitation centres for domestic
    • violence victims;
    • e. To support and supervise the set up of rehabilitation centres for the perpetrators of domestic violence;
    • ë. To license NPOs that will provide social services to victims and perpetrators.

Accreditation standards for assistance centres should be developed in consultation with NGOs and advocates working directly with complainants/survivors.

PROMISING PRACTICE: 
  • The Bundesgesetz zum Schutz vor Gewalt in der Familie (1996) of Austria (hereinafter law of Austria), where intervention centres are established and financed by government Ministry but run by women’s non-governmental organizations. These organizations have the depth of knowledge and experience required to provide sensitive and comprehensive support to complainants/survivors and their dependents. See: UN Model Framework, VII B.
The Power to Change, a resource to help victims of domestic violence through support groups was created by women’s rights advocates in Britain, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, and Portugal. The manual outlines a program model for creating self-help and support groups for women who have been in abusive relationships. The resource provides detailed information on how to establish such support groups by including checklists and outlining the responsibilities of facilitators, who play a key role in ensuring that the groups are safe, supportive, and inclusive.
 
The guide was created after two years of work by women’s rights organizations throughout Europe and has been tested through consultation with practitioners and service users across the five countries. It is available in five languages. Building upon the experience and expertise of the involved organizations, ThePower to Changeis intended to be used as a practical tool for women's rights groups and existing specialist services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, as well as more informal self-help groups and domestic violence experts working in other organizations, such as health and social care. The organizations are: Women’s Aid in United Kingdom, NANE in Hungary, Associazione Artemisia in Italy, MTÜ Naiste Varjupaik in Estonia and Associacao de Mulheres Contra a Violencia  in Portugal. The guide was funded by the European Commission's Daphne initiative.
 
See: Women’s Aid, “Guide to Running Support Groups” (24 November 2008); Women’s UN Report Network, “Guide for Support Groups with Victims & Survivors of Domestic Violence” (25 September 2009).