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

A resource package

Creating referral pathways integrated into health care

Health care professionals are often the first point of contact for survivors of GBV. Therefore, they are well positioned not only to identify GBV and provide survivors with medical care, but also to refer them to other necessary services. This may include referrals to other health care professionals within the same or at another health facility, for example, to mental health care providers or HIV specialists, and referrals to other services, such as shelters or organizations providing psychosocial or legal counselling. In turn, health care professionals may also receive referrals of women survivors, for instance from police, shelters or other health care professionals.

Chapter 4 defines what is meant by a referral system and explains why referrals are important in the context of the health sector’s response to GBV (section 4.1). It lists key actors and service providers typically involved in referrals (section 4.2), and suggests practical steps and recommendations to guide the establishment and implementation of a referral system (section 4.3). Further, it suggests what health professionals can do in the absence of a formal referral mechanism (section 4.4).