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Survivor-centred approach

  • A survivor-centred approach means that all those who are engaged in violence against women programming prioritize the rights, needs, and wishes of the survivor. 
  • Essentially, a survivor-centred approach applies the human rights-based approach to designing and developing programming that ensures that survivors’ rights and needs are first and foremost.  The survivor has a right to:
    • be treated with dignity and respect instead of being exposed to victim-blaming attitudes.
    • choose the course of action in dealing with the violence instead of feeling powerless.
    • privacy and confidentiality instead of exposure.
    • non-discrimination instead of discrimination based on gender, age, race/ ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, HIV status or any other characteristic.
    • receive comprehensive information to help her make her own decision instead of being told what to do.
  • The survivor-centred approach is based on a set of principles and skills designed to guide professionals-- regardless of their role—in their engagement with women and girls who have experienced sexual or other forms of violence.  The survivor-centred approach aims to create a supportive environment in which the survivor’s rights are respected and in which she is treated with dignity and respect.  The approach helps to promote the survivor’s recovery and her ability to identify and express needs and wishes, as well as to reinforce her capacity to make decisions about possible interventions (UNICEF, 2010).  Providers must have the resources and tools they need to ensure that such an approach is implemented.

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