PRESS RELEASE | The GNWS Launches A Global Directory of Support Services for People Experiencing Gender-Based Violence

Global Network of Women’s Shelters, UN Women, Meta and other organizations launch as the first global directory of support services for domestic abuse and sexual violence

April 6, 2022 – Today the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS), along with UN Women, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), Meta, and other organizations launched, their global directory of trustworthy support services for people seeking support from domestic and sexual violence. This directory of helplines, local shelters and crisis centers is accessible for everyone – victims, survivors, family or friends, service providers, embassy or tourism staff, or anyone looking to find support.

“ is in itself a lifeline for those seeking support at a very urgent time. It is of enormous importance that every person can find safe, and up-to-date information wherever they are in the world. It is even more important that this information comes directly from the direct service providers themselves. This helps provide reliable and trustworthy information that is accurately tailored for local communities.” (Kalliope Mingeirou, Chief Ending Violence against Women Section, UN Women)

UN Women provided financial and technical support for the, making it become the first truly global resource of its kind.

A global essential service

Advocates around the world have been discussing the need for a vetted global directory for many years. As Ashley Slye, Deputy Director of the Positively Safe program at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), says:

“I have been working for a long time with both NNEDV and the Global Network of Women’s Shelters, but when one of my friends came to me after experiencing sexual violence in Asia, I was unsure where to send her. In that moment I knew there was a need for a global directory highlighting vetted domestic violence and sexual assault helplines and crisis centers. With the development of Lila.Help, there is now a comprehensive, multi-national resource I feel comfortable sending my friends and family to if they need to reach help.”

In 2019 the GNWS started developing the directory and rallied victim advocates at the 4th World Conference of Women’s Shelters. At the time of launch, includes national helplines from 95 countries, which will continue to expand as more verified support resources are added to the system. It provides data that is trustworthy, accurate and reliable because it is shared by organizations themselves. The online form allows local, national, and regional organizations the opportunity to enter their own data directly, providing as much detail as possible. Many organizations share their opening hours and contact information, along with descriptions of their offered services, including online services which became so important during the pandemic.

Reliable and trustworthy referral resource

To ensure all provided data is reliable and up to date, the GNWS uses a verification process by front-line service providers from its global networks. Once a form has been submitted, it is reviewed by someone within the GNWS network who knows that specific region or country and can make an informed decision whether this would be an organization ‘you would send your loved one to’, as the GNWS frames it.

“In Latin America, the access to services, especially during the pandemic, was very difficult. So, for us it’s like a dream come true to have all the valid and trustworthy services in just one click”, says Margarita Guille of the Interamerican Shelter Network. “Now that the technology gives us lots of opportunities to reach out to each other, to be in contact in real time, I think is the real answer for all those that are looking for help for their daughters, sisters or themselves.”

Constantly up to date

All organizations in the directory will be regularly consulted if their data is still up to date. This provides organizations with the option to add, change, or update anything in their record. If they do not respond, their record will be made temporarily invisible, to avoid sending survivors to a shelter or helpline that had to close its doors due to lack of funding. With this system, also gives organizations the option to update the information to show everything they can offer.

“We at Meta were eager to support Lila.Help in order to help survivors and their loved ones access resources immediately,” said Cindy Southworth, Head of Women’s Safety at Meta and founding board member of the GNWS, “Building the technology behind Lila.Help aligns with our priority of connecting people to accurate, life-saving information,”

Employees from Meta (formerly Facebook) developed these automated technology features as part of their efforts to support survivors of gender-based violence during the pandemic.

“In Japan, there are not enough organizations that provide full-fledged support for a wide variety of victims, and it is not easy to find and reach these organizations” Chisato Kitanaka, All Japan Women’s Shelter Network, explains. “Therefore, we have collected information on reliable support groups here at, such as NGOs that support young women fleeing from abusive families, shelters that help foreigners, hotlines and online chats, one-stop support centers for sexual violence, and more. Especially during COVID-19, when women are often confined to their home with their abusive partner, services as an online chat are vital and we are pleased that displays this information.”

Sustaining into the future

For the GNWS, this is only the beginning. As described by Vivian Hartlief, the project lead of

“For the rest of 2022 we will focus on digging deeper, by identifying and supporting the available shelters, helplines, and NGOs in every country and territory in the world. Up until now we have a total of 95 countries, but in some cases, we only have the national helpline, when there are incredible local and regional organizations available.”

In addition, the GNWS will continue to make more user-friendly. “We want to provide specialized search opportunities. For example, if you use a wheelchair, you need to know upfront if a shelter is accessible,” Vivian states.

Do you want to contribute to worldwide women’s safety? Donate to the GNWS to make sure that women can reach out for assistance, wherever they are in the world. Every contribution is welcome. Or reach out to us on ways you or your organization can collaborate with

About the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS)

The GNWS a global voice for survivors of violence against women and the shelters, helplines, and crisis centers that serve them. The GNWS was born at the 2008 first World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Edmonton, Canada when national networks from around the globe decided to combine their efforts to help survivors of violence and the shelters and crisis centres that support them. The strength and reach of the GNWS is due to its foundation of a global network of shelter/GBV networks, including continental, regional, national, state/provincial. More information:

About UN Women

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women works to prevent and respond to violence, to increase access to services for survivors and to make private and public spaces safer for women and girls. At the global level we work to advance international policies providing support to the United Nations General Assembly and the Commission on the Status of Women, and ensuring that the post-2015 development agenda includes specific targets to end violence against women and girls. More information:

CSW66 parallel event: Worldwide Women’s Helplines


On March 14th 2022, the digital CSW66 parallel event ‘Worldwide Women’s Helplines Project: Where We Are’ took place. During this webinar, we heard about the preparations for the launch of, and got different regional updates from our network around the world. Great thanks to the moderator and all speakers!

We want to give a special thanks to Marta Chumalo from Centre Women’s Perspectives in Ukraine, for the wonderful work they are doing and the time Marta took to record a video for this event. If anyone would like to support their organization working for women’s rights in Ukraine, you can donate here:

Did you miss the CSW66 webinar? No worries! You can view the recording here. launch

The Global Network of Women’s Shelters launches a global directory of support services for people experiencing gender-based violence. 

After a year of IT development, gathering helpline and shelter information, and preparation the time has come!

On April 6th, the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) is launching their global directory of support services for people fleeing from domestic and sexual violence. is easily accessible for everyone – a survivor, family or friends, service providers, embassy or tourism staff, or anyone looking to find support. Join us for our official launch with our funder, UN Women.

Register via launch April 6 8AM EDT


Help us become even better: Donate now!

By donating you enable us to:

  • Dig deeper: help us identify and support the available shelters and NGOs in every country and territory in the world
  • Provide hyper-local support: besides the organization functioning at the national level, we want every regional shelter and local service provider to be found in our directory
  • Make our website more user friendly: e.g. by providing specialized search (search option for wheelchair accessible shelters, or services where they speak a certain language, shelters that accept pets, etc.)

Calling on organizations to share your information! is the first global website with a complete, accurate, and reliable listing of helplines and shelters in every country, to quickly become one of the linked-to webpages in the anti-violence against women sector. We are calling on organisations to join us!

What is is a global website where everybody, victims of gender-based violence (including domestic and sexual violence), supporting family, friends and professionals can easily find trustworthy direct help information of every country in the world. Every helpline or organization on is safe, will provide a listening ear, understands what victims need, is part of a broader crisis-help network, and can answer your questions or call for help.

I am convinced, what do I do?

You can read the manual of filling in the directory by following this link.

After that you can add your organization by following this link.

Thank you for joining!

Missed CSW65 Webinar on Global Helplines Project?

The Global Helplines Project webinar on CSW65 went successfully.  Great thanks to moderator, speakers, and audience to make this webinar inspiring and wonderful.  We received great feedback from our audience.  We are sorry that you missed our CSW65 webinar on Global Helplines Project: Lila.Help.  No worries, we heard you.  So here’s the link to recap of our wonderful webinar.

GNWS launches crowdfunding campaign to log women’s helplines in every country of the world


The Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) has launched a fundraising campaign on the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform to raise money for our Women’s Helplines Project.

The vision of the project is for women and children to be safe wherever they are. As a concrete first step, we aim to create a database and website with easily accessible information on trustworthy women’s helplines in every country of the world.

Such a resource does not exist yet. And in some parts of the world there are no women’s helplines. We want this to change.

This initiative could not have come at a more urgent time. The impact of COVID-19 on women and girls is staggering. According to UN Women there has been an intensification of intimate partner violence: an estimated 243 million women and girls have been affected in the past 12 months.

In lockdown, millions of vulnerable women are confined to their homes with abusive partners. Official figures show a 25 to 50 percent increase in reported cases of domestic violence during the pandemic.

Now more than ever, victims of sexual and domestic violence need discreet access to helplines, advice, and other services. Yet over a quarter of countries worldwide do not have helplines.

The goals of the Worldwide Women’s Helplines Project are to (1) create a website with a complete and certified database of existing national helplines, and (2) campaign to create trustworthy helplines in countries where none exist.

To do this, we need funding to pay for salaries, equipment, communications, travel, translation services, and other costs.

Please help support our GoFundMe by making a donation and sharing this information with people in your networks. Our goal is to raise US$90,000 (€75,000). With every US$15,000 we can fund a regional network for one year to coordinate and support the project in their region.

Together we can build a safe and secure website for phone numbers and other resources, so that women can reach out for assistance, wherever they are in the world.

GNWS webinars for Coronavirus

Previous Webinars

Missed an earlier webinar? Watch previous GNWS webinars on COVID-19 by clicking the links below.

02 September 2020: Data & Shelter Management During Times of Crisis

15 July 2020: Heading Off the Risk of Exploitation

01 July 2020: Heading Off the Risk of Exploitation

17 June 2020: The Impact of Reopening Communities on Supportive Services

03 June 2020: The Impact of Reopening Communities on Supportive Services

20 May 2020: Updates from Around the Globe

06 May 2020: Fundraising to Keep Shelter Services Going During a Public Health Crisis

29 April 2020: Supporting Women at a Distance During COVID-19: Updates from Australia and New Zealand

22 April 2020: Serving Survivors with COVID-19

15 April 2020: Using Technology to Support Victims II

08 April 2020: Report – Using Technology to Support Victims

01 April 2020: Report – Policy Prospectives on Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence During The Outbreak

25 March 2020: Planning, Preparation and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic


Every GNWS webinar is recorded and sent to all registrants afterward. If you can’t make a webinar, we will still make sure you receive the information!

GNWS Women’s Helplines Project

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we know victims of domestic violence are on ‘lockdown’ at home with abusive partners due to stay home orders from their governments. Countries around the globe are reporting escalation of domestic violence and increased Google searches for help for domestic violence; abusive individuals are using the COVID-19 pandemic as another means to control and abuse. Even if a victim is unable to leave their home at this time, domestic violence and sexual violence services can provide essential support to help the victim remain safe.

Direct help is essential for victims of domestic and sexual violence and a helpline is one of the most important ways of ensuring victims can find help and support. To support all victims during this unique time and beyond, GNWS is collecting the national helpline for every country so victims and their friends and family have a place to find accurate support. Even if your country doesn’t have a national helpline, we want to know! In response to the pandemic, we are also asking about text, chat, and email helplines.

The included map shows countries we have received information from. Those in purple currently have a national helpline, those in red do not. Click the map to go to for a larger image and more information. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief form so we can continue to update our list of helplines. If you have already completed the form, thank you so much. Your information is greatly appreciated!

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We want to make sure facilitation with survivors is engaging, easily understood, and effective. What are some recommended tools or strategies to think through when deciding on platforms or applications to engage with survivors?

Here are some links on mobile advocacy – and

Needed: National Helpline Information

Needed: National Helpline Information

Is your country grey on this worldmap? That means we do not have information about the women’s helplines in your country (we even like to know if there is none). Help us and fill out this google form: questionnaire national helplines domestic and sexual violence

We use this information to create a database and a global website to inform women, family and professionals about trustworthy helplines in every country of the world for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

More info on tab Women’s Helplines

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