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Conduct a service mapping exercise

Última editado: February 21, 2019

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Mapping is a process used to identify and understand the needs of victims/survivors.  It is important to document what services and initiatives, if any, are currently available to respond to violence against women. Such providers should be primary candidates for inclusion in the coordinated response.  They may include criminal justice agencies, health services, counseling services, NGOs working specifically on violence against women or gender equality issues, men’s groups and other specialist community-based organisations and development programmes. 

In conducting the mapping exercise, It is necessary to identify the main users of these services, and whether there are any groups not being reached and why. It is also important to ascertain what forms of violence against women the services cover and whether they are geographically concentrated in specific areas.  This information will assist in setting priorities to be pursued through the coordinated response.

The scope of service mapping will vary widely depending on the size of the territory involved and the extent of existing service provision.  It does not have to be a large-scale research project, and may simply require contacting key agencies and organisations (including NGOs and community groups) to identify which services they provide, how many people are serviced and the location of services. 


Key questions to address in a service mapping exercise are:

  • Where are services currently located?
  • Who are services available to (e.g. victim/survivor age/sex, specific forms of violence against women and girls)?
  • Who is using them?
  • When are services available (opening times)?
  • What do the services provide (ideally including standards and quality control)?
  • What protocols are in place?
  • Who delivers these services?
  • Which services do they refer on to and receive referrals from?
  • What are the outcomes for service users?
  • What does it cost to provide the services and what levels of investment do they receive?

Adapted from Response to Sexual Violence Needs Assessment Toolkit (Department of Health, England, 2011), London: Department of Health, available in English.


Example: Mapping of Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Nepal

Throughout Nepal, many local and international NGOs are working to address problems related to various forms of GBV. The programs include advocacy, awareness, capacity building and providing support and shelter services to survivors. Their efforts have been examined in a number of studies, but a current and comprehensive examination of the issue throughout all of Nepal's districts was lacking, leading the Asia Foundation, in partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID), to conduct a preliminary mapping of GBV interventions in Nepal in early 2010. This came in the wake of a landmark show of political will by the Prime Minister of Nepal, who declared 2010 the year to combat GBV.

The mapping exercise was expected to inform the work of the Gender-based Violence Complaints Handling and Monitoring Unit set up under the Office of the Prime Minister, government ministries, organizations working in the field of GBV and various other stakeholders. It was also intended to lay the groundwork for more extensive research to ultimately prevent duplication, and contribute towards the designing of a holistic plan for effectively addressing GBV in Nepal.

The preliminary mapping, conducted with 36 NGOs based in the capital Kathmandu (but working across the country), revealed that NGOs were working on domestic violence, trafficking, girls' rights, single women's (widow's) rights.  The scale of violence was difficult to assess, due to most cases going unreported and/or being temporarily settled in the community, or even the household, through mediation, threat and intimidation.

The NGOs were mainly involved in 3 categories of response activities – awareness and advocacy, prevention and support. Many had recently mobilised to create the National Network Against Domestic Violence (NNADV), to pressure the government to pass the Domestic Violence Act, and once it passed in April 2009, to track its implementation.

For more information, see Nepal: Preliminary Mapping of Gender-Based Violence (Asia Foundation, 2010), Kathmandu: Asia Foundation. 


Tools for mapping specific sectors

Mapping Violence against Women: A Tool to Map the Prevalence of Violence Against Women and the Interventions Addressing it (Rights 4 Change & de Boer, M. 2011).  This tool has been designed to enable NGOs, government bodies, researchers and others to map various forms of violence against women and interventions addressing it; specifically, one section is dedicated to mapping the nature and prevalence of violence against women.  The tool includes key questions to guide the mapping, ideas about sources of information and ways of presenting and reporting on the results.  Available in English.

How to Conduct a Situation Analysis of Health Services for Survivors of Sexual Assault (Christofides, N., Jewkes, R., Lopez, J. and Dartnall, E., 2006), Pretoria: Sexual Violence Research Initiative.  This guide provides tools developed by the Medical Health Research Council in their national situational analysis of sexual assault services in South Africa and outlines the steps to take when undertaking a similar assessment.  Available in English.

Getting It Right! A Practical Guide to Evaluating and Improving Health Services for Women Victims/survivors of Sexual Violence (Troncoso, E., Billings, D., Ortiz, O. and Cuautli Suárez, C., 2006), Chapel Hill, NC: Ipas.  This guide includes several sets of tools designed to provide overviews of relevant service providers and facilities in the health sector for victims/survivors of sexual violence.  Available in English and Spanish.

Tracking Justice: The Attrition of Rape Cases Through the Criminal Justice System in Gauteng (Vetten, L., Jewkes, R., Sigsworth, R., Christofides, N., Loots, L. and Dunseith, O., 2008), Johannesburg: Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, the South African Medical Research Council and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.  This study on attrition in reported rape cases included mapping the processing of cases within the criminal justice system.  Available in English.

Examples of mapping from different countries/regions

PEPFAR Special Initiative on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: Baseline Report (Elson, L. and Keesbury, J., 2010), Lusaka: Population Council.  This report contains the results of an examination of public health facilities for victims/survivors of sexual violence in Rwanda and Uganda, which was conducted to provide a baseline assessment prior to implementing a comprehensive care model.  Available in English.

Sexual Violence Mapping: Hammersmith and Fulham (Allen, T, Kane, C., Montique, B. and Jacobs, N., 2010), London: Standing Together Against Domestic Violence.  This mapping research was conducted to chart existing service provision for victims/survivors in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to identify local priorities for addressing sexual violence as part of a coordinated response.  Available in English.

Kenya: What's Being Done About Violence Against Women And Girls: Mapping Kenya's Civil-Society Organizations (2009). Available in English.

Pacific Islands: Ending Violence against Women and Girls Evidence, Data and Knowledge in Pacific Island Countries (UN Women, 2011). Available in English.

Nepal: Preliminary Mapping of Gender-Based Violence (Asia Foundation, 2010), Kathmandu: Asia Foundation.  This mapping documented work by a range of different organisations across the territory of Nepal on violence against women to inform future service development.  It includes a sample-mapping grid for recording basic details about each organisation.  Available in English.

Reality Check on European Services for Women and Children Survivors of Violence: A Right for Protection and Support? (Lesur, M., Stelmaszek, B., Golden, I., 2013), Vienna: WAVE.  This report provides information on the state of violence against women services in Europe.  Available in English.

Map of Gaps: the Postcode Lottery of Violence Against Women Support Services (Coy, M., Kelly, L., & Foord, J., 2007/2009), London: End Violence Against Women.   This study mapped the location and availability of violence against women services across the UK.  The researchers consulted primary and secondary sources of data, including: a questionnaire distributed to known service providers; liaison with umbrella organisations; published listings of services; and Internet searches.  From this, a database of services was compiled, categorised by types of service provided, forms of violence covered and geographical location.  Geographical Information System (GIS) software was used to link data about the type and location of each service to a digital map, showing the gaps in services in areas of the UK.  The maps have been used in campaigns regarding funding and provision of specialist support services and in calls for a coordinated approach to violence against women to be introduced across the nations and regions of the UK.  The project was updated in 2009.  Available in English.