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Services should be open to all women and appropriately tailored to the diverse needs of those seeking support

Last edited: September 14, 2012

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Women exposed to any form of violence should have access to safe accommodation and protection, although they will require distinct support based on their individual experiences. Services should be developed with consideration to the form(s) of violence and length of time suffered; the woman’s  physical, psychological, legal and socio-economic status at the time of seeking help; as well as the broader family, community and societal factors (i.e. risk and protective factors) –  which affect her ability to escape the abuse and access shelter services or safe accommodation. Services should be designed with consideration of these distinct circumstances as well as the particular needs of women and girls facing multiple forms of discrimination (women living with HIV, disabilities, indigenous, migrant or undocumented women, sexual minorities, etc.). This might include: providing family-style accommodation for women accompanied by dependent children, regardless of their age or sex; making available translation services; developing specific consent policies and taking appropriate steps to legally provide protection to girls under 18; establishing risk assessment and safety planning for specific forms of abuse (e.g. forced marriage; trafficking); supporting alternative safe accommodation in areas which do not have a shelter facility; and creating services for women dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues (Kelly & Dubois, 2008).

In additional see the general guiding principles which should be considered in all violence against women programming.