Safe Havens For Women Facing Violence

Safe Havens For Women Facing Violence Safe Havens For Women Facing Violence

For the first time in the country, women and girls facing violence of any kind will get protection at special care units. According to Valiollah Nasr, the head of Care & Trauma Office at the State Welfare Organization (SWO), 18 special care units - known as ‘Safe Havens’ have been opened across the country. Nasr says the expansion of such centers is a priority for the SWO.

“Women who face violence from family, relatives, and others and can no longer stay where they are living can go to the ‘safe havens’ to get shelter,” Nasr says. In the provinces where these units have not opened yet, they can call the SWO hotline where “the necessary services will be provided.”


Safe havens provide women with a variety of programs such as family education, life skills training and anger management and if need be, “they will be referred for special counseling,” the Persian newspaper Shargh reported.

“By setting up safe havens, the SWO is trying to minimize domestic violence as the first preventive measure,” says Nasr. He draws a distinction between the safe havens and other special care units that were created in the past such as ‘safe homes’ and ‘rehab centers’. “Their function is virtually the same but when it comes to age groups and the types of trauma involved, there are differences,” says Nasr as the safe homes host young girls who are psychologically vulnerable whereas ‘safe havens’ embrace victims of violence; and in ‘rehabs’ traumatized women are cared for.

Nasr said women who are taken care of at the SWO care units will also get help with housing and rental expenses. The amounts will vary from place to place but if it is deemed that a woman needs an independent residence, “she will receive financial aid amounting to over $5000.”

Any person, be it man, woman or adolescent, who has been victimized or even feels suicidal, can call the hotline 123 and get help on the phone through SWO experts. In critical situations they dispatch a team of social workers. There are also 180 SWO trauma centers across the country whose address and numbers can be reached through the hotline.


Leila Arshad, a social worker highlights the importance of opening care units for vulnerable women but says the SWO should raise awareness about the existence of such services by promoting its programs through media campaigns.

“Despite being a social worker, I wasn’t even aware that such services had been made available by the SWO and if more people get to know this, they can free themselves from dysfunctional homes,” Arshad says. She adds that the necessity for care units for women is felt very strongly globally and all the countries of the world have realized this. “The consequences of a woman spending a night on the streets are sometimes irreparable” and the SWO move is a positive development.

Arshad further called for the presence of professional counselors at the centers so that by diagnosing the root cause of the problem, they can provide legal and social support for victimized women and alleviate their sufferings.

“There is need, especially for women with young children who are left without a shelter, to be protected in temporary places and later through social and legal support, they will be able to make it on their own.”