Terms of Reference for the Consultant to conduct a needs assessment for capacity development of safe houses for women and children victims of violence in Serbia

Terms of Reference for the Consultant to conduct a needs assessment for capacity development of safe houses for women and children victims of violence in Serbia


Published on October 15, 2022, by Atina – Citizens' Association for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and All Forms of Violence against Women (i.e. NGO Atina)

Project title: Enhancement of safety of Women and Girls by Increasing Performance of Shelters for Victims of GBV/DV


NGO Atina is implementing the project “Enhancement of safety of Women and Girls by Increasing Performance of Shelters for Victims of GBV/DV” with the support of The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN) and with the financial support of the Embassy of the United Kingdom Belgrade. The project is a part of a wider action “Safety of Women and Girls in Serbia”, which is implemented by UN WOMEN in cooperation with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, Ministry of Labor, Employment, Social and Veteran Affairs, local self-governments, women’s organizations, and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Belgrade.

The key part of the project is aimed at strengthening the capacity of safe houses in Serbia to provide greater safety to women and children who are residing there. A needs assessment will be done, followed by activities aimed at improving the technical capacities of safe houses and specialized support for women and children who have experienced domestic violence, in order to overcome the trauma and continue a life without violence.

As part of the project activities, NGO Atina will work with five safe houses in the cities of Kragujevac, Nis, Leskovac, Vranje and Priboj. Further activities will include a visit and discussion with the employees of the women's safe house in order to define priorities related to the need to strengthen technical and organizational capacities. As part of the project, it is planned to organize training for employees according to thematic areas that will be agreed upon as a priority, support them in the improvement of internal documents, procedures and protocols, as well as the improvement of technical capacities and working conditions, all with the aim of improving the safety and quality of the support program for beneficiaries of women's safe houses.


Both CEDAW and GREVIO's latest (periodical) reports on Serbia marked the shortages in the service provision to VAWG victims and recommended their improvements. The shortages are noted in the provision of safe accommodation to victims, particularly to victims from vulnerable groups of women. Out of 15 existing shelters in Serbia, aimed at victims of violence, only 9 are specifically designed and equipped to receive women and children victims of domestic violence. 

At the same time, the range and quality of services provided in these shelters vary quite significantly. Most of the shelters are understaffed, and none of them offers trained professionals on duty 24/7. Therefore, some of the shelters lock the doors overnight which means that the movement of women and children is restricted until the next day. 

Istanbul Convention in article 23 obliges states parties to “take the necessary legislative or other measures to provide for the setting-up of appropriate, easily accessible shelters in sufficient numbers to provide safe accommodation for and to reach out pro-actively to victims, especially women and their children”.

In January 2020, GREVIO recommended Serbia to “ensure the provision of specialist women’s support services with a gendered approach and expand the provision of shelters while ensuring de facto access of all women, in particular women with disabilities, Roma women and women migrants/asylum seekers”. In order to do so, Serbian authorities are also invited to map the existing shelters and assess their capacities. Moreover, in its report GREVIO suggested Serbian authorities to “introduce and apply quality standards – in addition to the existing licensing standards - for shelters that accommodate victims of domestic violence and other forms of violence based on a gendered understanding of violence against women, the empowerment of victims and a victim-centred and integrated approach to service provision”.

On the other hand, in its Concluding Observations on Serbia, issued on March 14, 2019, CEDAW recommended the government “ensure that all women victims of gender-based violence, including the most disadvantaged groups, have unimpeded access to effective protection from violence, including by ensuring free legal aid provision by experienced State, academia and NGO professionals, a sufficient number of State-funded accessible shelters and an anonymous SOS helpline to be operated by personnel experienced in working with victims of violence; raise public awareness of State and NGO-run available services”.

As for the victims of trafficking, the only specialized shelter available to victims in Serbia is the one run by NGO Atina. Organization Atina opened the first shelter for victims of trafficking in the country, which has for 19 years now been providing safe accommodation for victims of trafficking and all forms of gender-based violence. The organization licensed this service as “assisted housing” five years ago. In addition, refugee and migrant women who are victims of violence and exploitation cannot access the state-run or local community-run shelters, as the state/municipalities usually refuse to cover the expenses for women who are not residents. Therefore, the only possibilities available to these women are shelters run by civil society organizations, primarily the ones run by NGO Atina.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the need to improve safeguarding procedures in shelters, all in line with health safety measures.


One consultant, with specific background in the area of social protection, as well as knowledge of running a safe house, as well as structural and functional standards, and protocols that exist in them; should carry out this work to assess the needs for capacity development for safe houses for women and children victims of violence in Serbia.  The main task is to upgrade the existing questionnaire and together with employees of 5 safe houses collect data based on which further actions at this particular project will be done.

This task should be realized from November 5, 2022, until February 28, 2023.



05/11/2022 – 15/11/2022

Upgrading the existing questionnaire on needs assessment of 5 safe houses

15/11/2022 – 15/12/2022

Collecting data from the ground

15/12/2022 - 30/01/2023

Interviewing the safe houses' employees 

30/01/2023 - 14/02/2023

Preparation of the draft report on needs assessment

14/02/2023 - 28/02/2023

Delivering the final report on needs assessment












NGO Atina will negotiate a number of days of engagement with the selected trainers on the basis of the financial offer (gross amount) that will classify the following:


Activity description


Rate per day


Activity 1





Activity 2





Activity 3





Activity 4





*Add columns as needed depending on the number of activities needed to perform the assignment

            Subtotal                                               EUR__________

            Other costs (specify)                           EUR__________

            TOTAL                                                 EUR__________

The total cost should cover all preparatory work regarding the job description, and communication costs between the Project team, consultants and organizations (e-mail, telephone, fax, mail).


The interested consultant should develop and submit the bidding proposal in the English language to respond to above mentioned specific tasks no later than October 27, 2022.  The bidding proposal should include:

1. Description and contact details of the trainers applying;

2. A detailed Budget Proposal (in the required form);

3. CV of the person involved emphasizing only relevant experience;

4. Past performance in similar areas of a trainer applying, with reference to previous contracting agencies.


The project team will make a decision on the selection of the most successful bidder, subject to the available budget, on the following four criteria:

  • University degree in the relevant field;
  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant experience;
  • Experience of the candidate in performing similar projects or programs;
  • An example of previous work as a reference to previous experience is desirable.


All bids need to be submitted no later than October 27, 2022, at 5 PM in electronic version, to the email marija.pantelic@atina.org.rs

A selection will be made no later than October 29, 2022, and the selected consultant will be contracted no later than November 3, 2022. Only the selected candidate will be informed.