Guidelines to better support women and girls victims of violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond


The guidelines aim to support national governments and service providers in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey on how to better respond to the needs of women and girls victims of violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Document includes some of the key actions, including: 

  • Declaring prevention and support services provided by women’s civil society organizations as essential services. This would entail guaranteeing continuous availability of services at full capacity;
  • Providing financial support to women’s NGOs running vital support services - national helpline, women’s helplines, women’s shelters, women’s counselling services; 
  • Regularly engaging with women’s NGOs to plan the response to the COVID-19 crisis, in planning the lockdown measures and the lift of the lockdown measures; 
  • Preparing and implementing emergency protocols for shelters for victims of violence, to address the challenges of the pandemic in consultation with women’s NGOs; 
  • Prioritizing violence against women and domestic violence cases as “cases of emergency” by courts. 

The guidelines were developed by the Civil Society Strengthening Platform, a platform gathering 9 women’s organizations throughout the Western Balkans and Turkey and led by Women Against Violence Europe Network (WAVE Network), within the regional programme “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds,” funded by the European Union. The guidelines were adapted to the current needs of services beneficiaries and providers, and realities of the Western Balkans countries and Turkey. 

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* For the European Union, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. For UN Women, references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

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Geographic coverage: Europe and Central Asia
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