Strengthening Health System Responses to Gender-based Violence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

A resource package

Creating Referral Pathways integrated into Health Care

General advice for working on referral systems

Ideally, multi-agency initiatives should involve actors from all agencies dealing with gender-based violence that play a role in improving services and prevention. However, practice has shown that it is not easy to get all the actors to the same table. In many countries, the involvement of the justice system, especially the prosecutors’ offices and criminal judges, has proven particularly difficult.


Challenges in building up a referral system

The process of developing a referral system needs time and patience. Visible results may take even a longer time to be appreciated.

Standards for service delivery

Survivors of gender-based violence do not always seek help from specialized agencies or disclose their problem when they do seek help. They often come to agencies for various purposes, for health-care or social services, housing programs, courts and others. If they are aware of the situation and if their interventions are sensitive and survivor-friendly, these agencies have a great potential to recognize the problem and to serve as a “door opener” to specialized services, such as women’s shelters. 

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