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

A resource package

4. Principles and standards for service provision

4.1        Outline of the module

Duration of the module

1 hour 15 minutes

Aim of the module

To provide participants with an overview of basic principles and standards for health care services to survivors of GBV, based on:

  • a gender-sensitive approach,
  • a survivor-/women-centred approach,
  • a human rights-based approach,
  • integrating the health system’s response to GBV into existing services.

Key learning messages

  • A gender-sensitive approach requires that health care professionals have a sound understanding of GBV, its causes and consequences and how it affects women belonging to marginalized groups.
  • A survivor-/women-centred approach prioritizes the rights, needs and wishes of the GBV survivor. This requires in particular, efforts to ensure the patient’s safety, dignity, privacy and confidentiality, as well as empowerment, autonomy and participation.
  • A human-rights based approach addresses the human rights violations that are the causes and consequences of GBV. It is based on universal human rights principles and holds states and service providers (“duty bearers”) accountable to fulfil their obligations vis-à-vis individuals (“right holders”).
  • Integrating the health system’s response to GBV into existing services, rather than offering them stand-alone services, helps to facilitate women’s easy access to comprehensive services and to ensure sustainability, especially in low-resource settings.

Background readings for trainer

UNFPA-WAVE Resource Package, Part I, chapters 1.6 and 2.5

Further readings:

Istanbul Convention and Explanatory Report, WHO 2013, IPPF 2010, UNFPA 2010b


Presentation by trainer (PPT slides 1-9, handouts 14-18)

Notes for trainers

When disseminating the case studies (handouts 16-18), briefly highlight key points from each example documented. Then you may want to facilitate a discussion, asking the group of they know other examples on integrating GBV responses into health care – from their own country or other countries.

Materials for training session

Presentation: PowerPoint presentation Module 4 (download it at the bottom of the page)


Handout 14: Quality standards for providing health services to women survivors of GBV

Handout 15: A comparison of different models of delivering care for survivors of gender-based violence  

Handout 16: Setting up victim support groups in hospitals –an example from Austria

Handout 17: Providing hospital-based accommodation for survivors of GBV- an example from Tajikistan

Handout 18: Integrating the response to domestic violence services in maternity and sexual health services - an example from the UK