Complaint Mechanism - Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
last updated 7 June  2013 – Information is subject to change. Please check the Special Rapporteur’s website for updates.
Type of Mechanism
Communications Procedure under the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences
Scope of the Procedure
Violence or threats of violence directed against women because of their gender. The Special Rapporteur relies on the definition of violence against women set forth in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women: “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” (Art. 1).
Who Can Submit a Complaint[1]
Intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including women’s groups or organizations. 
Role of Advocates
NGOs are encouraged to monitor and communicate to the Special Rapporteur incidences or threats of violence against women, including patterns of violence, on behalf of victims with their consent.
Available Remedies[2]
For urgent appeals, the Special Rapporteur may send reliable communications to the Government at issue and request that effective protection is provided for those under threat or at risk of violence. Communications not requiring urgent action are summarized, along with replies from the governments of concern, and reported to the UN Human Rights Council.
What the Complaint should Include[3]
The communication should include the identity of the woman or women victims, the country or countries in which the violations took place, the date or approximate time period and circumstances of the violation, any supporting documentation available, and action taken by the Government, including laws and policies which prevent, remedy, or contribute to violence against women.
Where to Send Communications
Communications should be submitted to:
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 90 06
The Special Rapporteur has been very open to receiving information from NGOs in a less formal manner than other UN bodies. The Special Rapporteur can also respond more quickly than other enforcement mechanisms to bring issues to the attention of the UN.
The special rapporteurs in general do not have sufficient resources to follow-up after country visits.  

[1] UN OHCHR, Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Individual Complaints,
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.