Moldova’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention marked an essential commitment to addressing the deep-rooted issues of violence against women and aligning itself with the fundamental values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law upheld by the European Union. Despite this commendable step forward, studies have highlighted a significant gap in the protection and support of women facing violence, specifically regarding shelters and specialized services. Therefore, further research examining standards, international practices, and the current legislation in this area became critical to raising public awareness and promoting dialogue to ultimately bring about necessary changes in policy and practice.

This paper has first identified and analysed the standards for support services offered to victims of violence against women prescribed by the Convention itself. Furthermore, it analysed the existent Moldovan piece of legislation governing standards for shelters and specialised services through this lens and identified key-areas of improvement. In addition, a considerable part of the study focused on limitations posed by the existing funding system, and highlighted the need to redress the current framework to allow for more effective participation of NGOs in the provision of specialised services and shelters to victims. Finally, the study provided a brief overview of the interplay between the public and private sectors in Finland in this area, framing it as a good practice example Moldovan authorities could draw inspiration from in a long-term perspective.

Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations have been developed:

  • Amending the current Government Decision 1200 from 23rd of December 2010 to
  • remove identified barriers to admissions to centres, namely the referral procedure, by allowing victims to be admitted at any given time without any documentation and proof
  • include violence against women and gender-based violence within its scope and their respective definitions according to
  • prescribe a clear set procedure for dealing with the categories of persons currently deemed “inadmissible” to shelters, to ensure they obtain the necessary help and could later benefit from the services provided by the centres
  • provide for the fact that family units in shelters shall be equipped with a kitchenette, as well as listing a large shared kitchen as a necessary facility for shelters
  • prescribe a comprehensive safety plan for the centres and adopt a risk assessment mechanism
  • prescribe for the staff requirements for shelters housing 10-15 people according to the standards provided by the WAVE handbook
  • Adequate and gender-sensitive state budgeting in the area of social support services for victims of violence against women and domestic violence
  • Adjusting the legal framework to encourage state contracting of NGOs for the provision of specialised services and shelters to victims of violence against women and domestic violence, as well as ensuring sustainable core funding of these institutions for a minimum of one year
  • Development of a national network of NGOs providing shelters and specialised services to victims of violence
  • In a long-term perspective, delegating provision of support services for victims of violence to private sectors, while maintaining a core state funding thereof, to maximize efficiency.

Author: Otilia VATAVU

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