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Essential Service Package

Services for women and girls who experience violence

Violence against women and girls is extremely widespread, systemic and culturally entrenched and affects more than one in three women globally. States have international obligations to establish measures to prevent, investigate and prosecute cases of violence against women and girls and to ensure that survivors have access to certain services.

The Essential Service Package is a UN guidance tool that identifies the essential services to be provided to all women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence. It outlines which services should be provided in different sectors (health, social services, police and justice) and provides guidelines for the coordination of these services.

The below map shows the level of efforts needed in different countries of the Arab States region to meet the standards identified by the Essential Service Package.

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Coordination
Health
Justice and policing
Social services
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Colours show the level of efforts needed to meet the standards identified by the Essential Service Package.

Efforts
Major efforts needed Moderate efforts needed Very limited efforts needed
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Overview

The purpose of the Essential Services Package is to support countries as they work to design, implement and review services for all women and girls who are victims and survivors of violence, in a broad range of settings and situations. The Package is a practical tool for countries setting out a clear roadmap on how to ensure the provision and coordination of quality services of all sectors.

It is designed to ensure that the services of all sectors are coordinated and governed to respond in a comprehensive way, are women-centred and where necessary, child-centred, and are accountable to victims and survivors and to each other. The guidelines for each core element of the essential services are designed to ensure a quality response to violence against women and girls.

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Health

A quality health service response to violence against women and girls is crucial, not only to ensure survivors have access to the highest attainable health standard, but also because health care providers (such as nurses, midwives, doctors and others) are likely to be the first professional contact for women who have been subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence. Women and girls often seek health services, including for their injuries, even if they do not disclose the associated abuse or violence. Health care services must be accessible, responsive to trauma, affordable, safe, effective and of good quality, and health professionals need to be trained to effectively identify and treat women and girls subjected to violence. learn more

Justice and Policing

A quality police and justice response is essential in ensuring that relevant laws against gender-based violence meet international standards, i.e. that they are enforced; keep women and girls safe from violence, including from the re-occurrence of further violence; hold perpetrators accountable; and provide for effective reparations for victims and survivors. Justice systems, and all actors within the system, must be accountable for ensuring that they deliver on their obligations. Legal frameworks and justice systems must address the severity, nature and extent of gender based violence; protect the well-being and safety of victims and survivors; and ensure women’s access to justice. learn more

Social Services

The provision of quality social services forms a vital component of an effective response to violence against women and girls. Social services comprise a range of services that support the rights, safety and wellbeing of women and girls experiencing violence, including crisis information and help lines, safe accommodation, legal and rights information and advice. Key to maintaining women and girls’ safety is an understanding of the gendered nature of this form of violence and providing services within a culture of women’s empowerment. This includes ensuring that services are women-focused, child-friendly, are non-blaming, and support women and children to consider the range of choices available to them, and support their decisions. learn more

Coordination

A cohesive multi-disciplinary cross-agency approach for responding to violence against women and girls is essential to protecting victims and survivors of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence from further harm when responding to violence. Coordinated systems can have a greater impact in responding to violence, as well as greater efficiencies, than agencies working in isolation. Services of all sectors should be coordinated and governed to respond in a comprehensive way, women and child-centered, and accountable to survivors of gender-based violence and to each other. learn more

UNFPA Review of Essential Gender-Based Violence Services for women and girls in the Arab States

In the Arab States region, the proportion of women and girls who have been subjected to intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence is even slightly higher than the global average: 37% of women and girls are affected in the region, according to WHO data. Gender-based violence against women and girls has detrimental and long-lasting consequences to women’s and girls’ well-being, health and safety. It represents a major health concern given its direct impact on survivors’ reproductive health, physical, psychosocial and mental wellbeing. It is an extreme violation of human rights and constitutes a threat to women and girls’ opportunity to reach their full potential.

In order to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls effectively, services for survivors of gender-based violence in the health, police and justice, and social sectors have to meet a certain minimum standard. Therefore, UNFPA Arab States Regional Office commissioned a review of services in these three sectors, which was carried out from July 2018 – July 2019. The individual country reports are based on the analytical framework of the Essential Service Package and examine the range and foundational elements of existing services in each country, as well as the information management systems and coordination mechanisms in place.

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