Programming Essentials, Monitoring & Evaluation
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Ensuring survivor-centred and empowering approaches

Last edited: October 31, 2010

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Interventions should integrate women’s and girls’ own experiences and input within all initiatives and strategies, which is essential for successful programming. A survivor-centered approach is fundamental to the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls affected and to their empowerment.


A survivor-centered approach entails:

  • Respect for women’s autonomy and right to make decisions (for example, in determining whether to report an incident to the police or renew contact with the perpetrator in cases of intimate partner violence). (UNDAW and UNODC, 2005)
  • Consideration of a survivor’s family and social environment when providing health services and safety responses (e.g. where survivors are ostracized by their families or cannot return to their homes).
  • Ongoing rights-based education and legal literacy, which empowers all women and girls, including survivors of violence.
  • Provision of both immediate needs (e.g. medical, safety, psychological needs, legal), as well as longer-term socio-economic supports (such as ongoing therapy and health care, access to income, employment security, housing, transportation) for the survivor and her dependents (e.g. children and elderly relatives). (UN General Assembly, 2006)