Promising practices of establishing and providing specialist support services for women experiencing sexual violence
The policy paper “Promising practices of establishing and providing specialist support services for women experiencing sexual violence: A legal and practical overview for women’s NGOs and policy makers in the Western Balkans and Turkey” aims to serve national policy makers and women’s organizations as a learning tool for establishing and providing support services for women and children victims of sexual violence, with the aim of eventually informing a national service provision framework. The paper highlights promising practices from women’s organizations and other stakeholders in supporting women survivors of sexual violence, and clarifies the need to establish a common language when it comes to the specialist services mentioned in the Istanbul Convention, namely: rape crisis and sexual violence referral centres. This document also outlines a process of scaling and learning for women’s organizations and national policy makers in the Western Balkans and Turkey and assesses the need for specialized support for women survivors of sexual violence, expanding on the principles, concepts, and rationale underlying the rape crisis model.
This policy paper was developed as part of the project “Strengthening the capacities of regional CSO networks for policy advocacy, knowledge-based expansion and partnership facilitation on sexual violence in the Western Balkans and Turkey,” under the UN Women regional programme “Ending violence against women: Implementing Norms, Changing Minds,” funded by the European Union. The programme aims to end gender-based discrimination and violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey, encompassing the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.
* 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).