Coordinated Responses
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Last edited: January 14, 2019

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To ensure that efforts to address violence against women are consistent and truly coordinated it is necessary to establish clear guiding principles that will underpin the entire approach. 

While these guiding principles are grounded in a theoretical understanding of the complex nature of violence against women, it is important to also translate them into practical actions that can be easily applied and adhered to.  This can be a difficult task, due in part to different frameworks and perspectives that various partners bring to the table (e.g. although violence against women is clearly a health issue, not all agencies may view it as such, preferring instead to treat it as just a criminal concern or a social problem, etc.). Different partners may also not immediately see how an approach that is considerably different from theirs can contribute to the goals of victim safety and offender accountability and improve everyone’s response. Thus they may be slow to sign on.

Referring to international agreements, – particularly if there are government obligations involved – policy and legislation (if this exists) on violence against women, gender equality, human rights and non-discrimination within a victim/survivor-centred approach can be useful.  It can help steer discussions away from solely national or institutional framings or individual biases and bring them in line with international standards, thus leading to greater ease of agreement on a set of core principles. 

While this may be a lengthy and frustrating process, ultimately reaching a consensus is critical for the success of the coordinated response, since it will inform all activities undertaken, including the planning, development, delivery and evaluation of interventions, the conduct of meetings and the content of training, tools and resources.  It is also an important process to undergo to secure long-term buy-in and commitment from all partners.

Guiding principles for a coordinated response should do the following:

?       Address gender inequality alongside violence against women, by challenging discriminatory attitudes and practices;

?       Anchor the overall response in a human rights-based framework, referring particularly to state responsibilities enshrined in important international instruments and agreements, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;

?       Integrate the principle of non-discrimination in all policies and practices of each partner agency to ensure equity of access to rights and justice for all, particularly marginalised women and those vulnerable to violence;

?       Adopt a victim/survivor-centred approach, which places the needs and priorities of victims/survivors of violence at the heart of any and all actions; and

?       Provide a coordinated strategy to increase offender accountability, so long as the offender accountability approach does not negatively impact the victim/survivor.


See also Programming Essentials, Monitoring & Evaluation.