Coordinated Responses
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Last edited: January 14, 2019

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A coordinated response is important because it is more effective in keeping victims/survivors safe from violence and holding offenders accountable than when different sectors of society work in isolation to address the issue. Coordination provides benefits for victims/survivors, for the agencies and institutions that respond to VAWG, and for their communities.

The aim of coordinated responses is to provide a coherent collective response that ensures the safety and security of victims/survivors, and the accountability of perpetrators through a unified system of supports and sanctions.  Coordinated responses provide:

For victims/survivors:

  • Increased safety, as they are placed at the centre of any intervention or institutional response and offender accountability is a primary focus;
  • Access to more informed and skilled practitioners with a shared knowledge in a dedicated, supportive environment;
  • Greater recognition of their multiple needs, which can be met through co-locating services or referral networks, possibly facilitated by an advocate;
  • Information sharing between agencies may reduce the number of times victims/survivors are asked to tell their story to different professionals, reducing risks of re-traumatization;
  • Integrated care models mean that psychosocial, health and sexual health needs are more likely to be addressed holistically; and
  • Women’s rights to financial and social autonomy can be integrated into the approach to minimise their risk of experiencing abuse and to enable them to escape from it after it has occurred.

For institutions/agencies:

  • Minimum standards agreed across partner agencies help to create more consistent responses;
  • Increased ability of criminal justice agencies to hold perpetrators accountable;
  • Shared data systems can be developed to track the progress of victims/survivors and the impact of responses;
  • Clarity about roles and responsibilities means sectors can excel in their areas of expertise, and professionals’ work is complemented by that of other agencies and professionals;
  • Clear and transparent communication and accountability mechanisms between agencies through shared protocols;
  • Consistent messages can be sent to victims/survivors, perpetrators and communities;
  • Greater impact and reach of programmes at a lower cost through pooling financial and human resources;
  • Violence against women can be integrated with linked areas, such as gender equality, poverty reduction and sexual health promotion through joint programming;
  • Greater opportunities for sharing resources, practice-based knowledge, innovation and research; and
  • Potential cost benefits, for example, through reductions in duplication of efforts or expertise which is misdirected

For communities:

  • Clear, consistent messages that violence against women is being treated seriously, by both protecting and assisting victims/survivors and deterring and punishing perpetrators;
  • More opportunities to speak out – for women about their experiences of violence against women, and for community members, including men and boys, about the impact of violence against women on their and their families’ lives;
  • Being recognised as important providers of support to women and girls and sources of information on how to act appropriately;
  • Joining in a shared willingness to hold perpetrators accountable;
  • Opportunities for community members to join together to develop prevention strategies and campaigns; and
  • Participatory community strategies, where violence against women is often framed as a human rights and equality issue, offer opportunities for collaboration with those working on other social justice issues.