How to Support Survivors of Gender-Based Violence. A Step-By-Step Guidance

Reducing risk, promoting resilience and aiding recovery

UNICEF Armenia
Հավելվածի հիմնական նկարը, որի վրա գրված է, որ այն հասանելի է 7 լեզուներով։
08 January 2021

The coronavirus pandemic posed unprecedented challenges and a heavy strain not only on the healthcare system but on teachers, social workers, psychologists, as well as service organizations for women, children, disability and other vulnerable groups. Women are disproportionally affected. Cases of gender based violence in Armenia were reported to have increased by 30 percent in the space of a month after lock down.  

“An increase in gender-based violence has been one of the manifestations of the stress and anxiety placed on households as a result of the lockdowns, and the economic impact of COVID-19. Women were and continue to be disproportionally affected. The availability of the Gender-Based Violence Pocket Guide in Armenia will help guide humanitarian workers support women survivors of violence, and ensure that their rights are respected,” said UNICEF Armenia Representative Marianne Clark-Hattingh.

GBV pocket guide app infographic

The Armenian version of the pocket guide is now available for electronic download or as a mobile application on iOS and Android. It was first created in 2018-2019 by the GBV Guidelines Reference Group that comprises of organizations, such as the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crisis, International Committee of the Red Cross, Irish Consortium on Gender-based Violence, IOM, OXFAM, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, World Vision, WFP, Women’s Refugee Commission and others.

It is available in Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, and fully accessible offline upon download. The guide provides step-by-step guidance and tools to all humanitarian practitioners across all sectors on how to support survivors of gender-based violence when there are no GBV services, referral pathways or focal points in your area. It uses global standards on providing basic support and information to survivors of GBV without doing further harm.

The GBV Pocket Guide also provides key messages on how to support survivors; an interactive decision-tree to guide practitioners through what to do if someone shares their experience of violence; easy-to-read Do’s, Don’ts and sample scripts; and targeted guidance on child and adolescent survivors.

The guidelines advise you to always talk to a gender-based violence specialist first to understand what gender-based violence services are available in your area. In Armenia, you can contact various specialists at the Women’s Support Center (24/7 hotline: 37499 887808), Women’s Rights Center (10:00-20:00 hotline: 37410 542828; 37443 010292), Sexual Assault Crisis Center (24/7 hotline: 37477 991280) or Hope and Help NGO at 0800-80801 helpline.

You will also need to be aware of any other available services in your area. Identify services provided by humanitarian partners, such as health, psychosocial support, shelter and non-food items. Consider services provided by the church, women’s groups and disability service organizations.

It's also important to remember your role and your mandate. Provide a listening ear, free of judgment. Provide accurate, up-to-date information on available services.


Receiving quality medical care within 72 hours can prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections, and within 120 hours can prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Let the survivor make their own choices. Ask the survivor permission before connecting them to anyone else. For a survivor-centered approach, practice respect, safety, confidentiality, and non-discrimination.

UNICEF works to prevent violence against children in Armenia by enhancing the capacity of social service providers and the police in early identification, prevention and response to the risks and cases of violence against children. We support the 24/7 Child Protection Hotline 3744 086 111, operated by trained social workers. Anyone can use this hotline to report about a child who is at risk of violence or been exposed to violence. UNICEF also works with psychologists to provide positive parenting skills to parents and psychosocial support, where needed, through individual and group sessions.