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Key strategies

Last edited: September 14, 2012

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  • Ensure relevant laws and policies provide support for shelters and related services 
  • Promote protocols and guidelines to support standardized implementation of policies
  • Secure adequate state funding for shelters and related services
  • Integrate practices that promote accessibility for all women, such as: ensuring facilities serve women of all ages and can accommodate girls if needed; sheltering women with children; reducing financial barriers, by providing free services and safe transportation; and creating infrastructure and policies which enable women living with disabilities, in humanitarian settings, undocumented or immigrant women, and those with mental health or substance issues to access services.
  • Provide specialized shelters for responding to domestic and sexual violence, trafficking, and harmful practices, such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation and “honour” crimes, among other forms of violence.
  • Develop innovative approaches to providing alternative accommodation in low-resource or isolated communities, such as volunteer safe homes, emergency safe spaces (including community facilities or hotels), and confidential private accommodation. 
  • Explore the feasibility of sanctuary schemes to enable women to stay in their homes or rapid re-housing to offer women immediate stable and safe housing options.
  • Improve women’s safety and protection with measures such as: operating in a confidential location with support from security guards or police; conducting crisis intervention as needed on arrival and at any time; ensuring availability of a free 24-hour help line with trained counselors; and facilitating risk assessment and safety planning processes.
  • Empower women to regain control in their lives and achieve their goals through counseling, support groups and case planning.
  • Strengthen individual advocacy and system-wide coordinated community responses.
  • Assist women and girls to access economic opportunities and affordable housing.
  • Provide outreach services and awareness-raising in the community.