Overview Integrate survivor support and assistance into reproductive health programmes
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Develop educational and informational materials and conduct community outreach about availability of support services

Last edited: February 25, 2011

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  • Health providers should disseminate information within facilities, especially in waiting areas and bathrooms, about violence against women and girls.  These materials might include pamphlets, posters, a short video, etc., and should be adapted in settings where clients may be non-literate.
  • Materials should include information on:
    • Availability of trained providers who can be asked for help regarding any form of violence clients have experienced
    • Patient rights within health services, including privacy and confidentiality
    • Nature, health impacts, and services available for various types of violence, including:
      • Family violence
      • Intimate partner violence
      • Sexual violence, including rape
      • Childhood sexual abuse

o   Laws about violence against women

o    Sexual and reproductive health and rights

o   Women’s rights

o   General human rights

o   Where to get other services (special police units, hotlines, free legal assistance, women support groups, shelter, etc.)

  • In designing materials, it is important to remember that women who are in abusive situations may be endangered if they bring home written information about violence.  In addition to the materials above, providers may want to make small cards available to women that they can hide in their clothing and that only provides phone numbers and addresses of services, without any other identifying information that could put a survivors at risk (Bott et al., 2004).
  • Health facilities should also conduct community outreach about the availability and importance of accessing services in timely manner. Community awareness campaigns can increase utilization of services and make services more efficient (Kim et al., 2007a).  Working at the community level helps overcome barriers that rural and poor women in particular may have in accessing services (Naved, 2006) and can build trust in local health providers and the services they offer.  



Example: Staff at a health centre in Nepal offering violence against women and girls services held community meetings, schools, and village gathering places to talk about the unacceptability of violence against women and girls and the services they offered to meet the needs of survivors. Additionally, peer educators encouraged survivors to go for services. These activities led to an increase in clients seeking services (UNFPA, 2009).



  • Health facilities should identify outreach workers who can share information at the community level.  These outreach workers can be directly linked with the health facility, or can be accessed through other networks with which the facility coordinates. Links can be created between local organizations, women’s groups and other important community stakeholders.



Example: The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme in South Africa conducts campaigns on where and how to report abuse, directly linking communities with existing medical services. Additionally, case management teams follow and monitor survivors (Ndhlovu et al., 2006, cited in Population Council, 2008b).




Example:  In the Justo Rufino Barrios Clinic in Guatemala City, health promoters use the waiting rooms to perform short theatrical skits. These skits introduce the topic of violence and encourage patients to talk to their health providers if they need help (Velzeboer et al., 2003).



Illustrative Tools:

Sample Safety Card, Family Violence Prevention Fund, USA.  Available in English.

Health Communications Materials Database (Media Materials Clearinghouse). Materials available in a number of languages.

GBV Prevention Network Communications Materials.  Materials available in a number of languages and from different African countries.

 South Asia Advocacy Materials compiled by UNIFEM.  Materials available in English, Hindi and Telegu.

Until Women and Children Are Safe (Women's Aid). A number of leaflets and resources are available for free by filling in the order form