Read our Call to Action then Join Us in Calling Upon Governments to Take Action

Adopted March 2012 in Washington D.C. by a collective body of 1,400 delegates from 96 countries at the 2nd World Conference of Women's Shelters and by the Global Network of Women's Shelters.

     We, the Global Network of Women's Shelters and the over 1,400 advocates and activists representing 96 countries in attendance at the 2nd World Conference of Women's Shelters, call upon all governments to develop and support targeted actions to prevent and respond to violence against women and children. One out of every three women is beaten, raped, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Governments have an inherent responsibility to ensure the safety of women and children in all areas, including within the home.

     Many governments have already taken the important step of signing on to international conventions to address violence against women and children, and we call upon these countries to fulfill their obligations under those treaties. We strongly urge countries which have not yet signed on to international conventions and/or created national violence against women policies and legal frameworks to swiftly do so.

     Violence against women and their children takes a devastating toll on all aspects of the lives of victims, their children, families and society. Recognizing this far‐reaching impact, governments must integrate efforts to address violence against women throughout all levels of government and all governmental departments and agencies. Furthermore, governments must prioritize funding to support programs which provide safety and services for victims, including support for prevention programs to eradicate violence against women from our society.

     All government policies must be grounded in the understanding that violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men that perpetuates violence and discrimination against women and their children, as stated in the United Nation's Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

     In practice, this means that governments must:

  1. Provide adequate funding levels to guarantee that all women and children facing violence will have access to:
    • Specialist women's service providers with expertise in addressing violence against women and children; and
    • Programs providing services for marginalized women; and
    • Enough shelters and safe spaces including appropriate infrastructure and support services. 
  2. Support prevention efforts led by gender based violence against women programs and other anti-violence programs.
  3. Develop cross‐departmental approaches that include but are not limited to agencies tasked with addressing:
    • Housing and other social services;
    • Health;
    • Economic Development;
    • Justice;
    • Education; and
    • Other social, political, and economic inequality.

     We, the collective body of delegates at the 2nd World Conference of Women's Shelters and the Global Network of Women's Shelters, urge you to take the needed actions to address and end violence against women and children.

     Signed,

Sue Else, Co-Chair, Global Network of Women's Shelters

Bandana Rana, Co‐Chair, Global Network of Women's Shelters

March 2012 in Washington, D.C.