Related Tools


Last edited: September 14, 2012

This content is available in


Assisting women and girls in ways that promote well-being and security is needed to effectively help them overcome the effects of violence and achieve their goals for a life free of violence (United Nations Secretary General, 2006a.b). This includes a continuum of services to support abused women to leave violent relationships and circumstances; overcome the physical, emotional and social effects of violence (e.g. distress, trauma, impact on family and social relationships, grief, loss); deal with the practical consequences (e.g. economic challenges, custody of children, legal issues); and transition to a new home and/or community (e.g. access to affordable and safe housing, establishing employment and income).

Research suggests the importance of social support and access to community resources in assisting women to successfully leave situations of intimate partner violence. Women often report returning to abusive relationships because of lack of employment (Hofeller, 1982; Strube & Barbour, 1983) and economic dependence on their partner (Aguirre, 1985; Johnson, 1988; Rumptz & Sullivan, 1996).

Building upon emerging and medium-term shelter-based supports which empower them to address their various needs and achieve their personal goals, economic development, housing assistance and outreach services are commonly provided by shelters. Shelters assist women specifically in preparing to live safely, independently and in a sustained manner in the community. Through such supports, women are better equipped to safely and successfully return to life in the community.