New Report: Shelters are “Survival Tools” for Women Victims of Violence

The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes, and consequences, has developed a special framework on shelters and protective orders as part of her annual report to the Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur classified shelters as essential survival tools for ensuring women’s safety because they are a place of refuge and support. Shelters also help victims regain control of their lives by boosting self-esteem. But, many countries fall short on the services they offer, operate shelters only during the day, or do not provide shelters at all. According to best practices, states should establish one shelter for every 10,000 people, shelters should not be subject to budget cuts, and shelters should be used in conjunction with protective orders.

Protective orders require that a violent offender either vacate the home they share with the victim or stay away from the victim. According to the Special Rapporteur, states should provide for both shelters and protective orders because protective orders are issued by the police and/or through the judicial system, but not all victims trust the police or want to involve those authorities. Combining the different functions of shelters and protective orders ensures that women may live free from violence.

The Advocates for Human Rights participated in the Special Rapporteur’s Expert Group Meeting to discuss shelters and orders for protection in January 2017. The Advocates’ submission as well as other submissions on shelters and protection orders may be found here.


Compiled from: States must provide shelters as “survival tool” for women victims of violence - UN expert, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (June 12, 2017).