1. Shelters is the term we are using to encompass the breadth of services that women’s shelters, refuges, safe homes and anti-violence centers provide in various cultural contexts. We recognize there are many different forms of community support and services that are needed to address and end violence against women. GNWS decided to use the term ‘shelter’ in our organization’s name to acknowledge the significant challenges faced globally in establishing, providing and maintaining safe refuge and shelter for women and girls at risk of violence. In some countries, it is very difficult to even establish one shelter. Even in countries where feminist independent services are relatively well-developed, women’s shelters and refuges still regularly struggle and face constant risks of having to close down or cut services and staffing due to changing political and economic situations. Despite these barriers, women’s shelters play a critical and unique role in addressing and advocating for the needs of women and girls experiencing violence.
  2. Violence against women is defined consistent with the United Nation’s definition, in which the term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following: (a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation; (b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution; (c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs. Source:
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