Terms of Reference for the Consultants for development of the Analysis on the existing support and protection services provided to VAWG and domestic violence victims in shelters in Serbia

Terms of Reference for the Consultants for development of the Analysis on the existing support and protection services provided to VAWG and domestic violence victims in shelters in Serbia

Published on November 15, 2021 by NGO Atina – Citizens' Association for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and All Forms of Violence against Women (i.e. NGO Atina)

Project title: Improving Support to VAWG Victims in Serbia


NGO Atina is implementing the project “Improving Support to VAWG Victims in Serbia” 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 European Union. The project is a part of a wider regional project Ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey named “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds”.

The main aim of the project is to improve the position of women and girls – victim of violence – through enhancing accessibility and capacities of shelters to respond to their actual and assessed needs. Activity groups are planned within 3 expected project results and are directly related to the recommendations provided in the GREVIO and CEDAW reports on Serbia.The project implementation lasts 18 months, it started in September 2021 and will be finished in February 2023. The Analysis of the existing support and protection services provided to VAWG and domestic violence victims in shelters in Serbia is a part of the first project result that should lead to the development of quality standards to ensure a victim-centered and integrated approach to the shelter accommodation.


Both CEDAW and GREVIO 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. 

As for the victims of trafficking, the only specialized shelter available to victims is the one run by NGO Atina. In addition, refugee and migrant women who are victims of violence and exploitation cannot access the state-run or local-community-run shelters, as they refuse to cover the costs of women who are non-residents. Therefore, the only possibilities available to these women are shelters run by civil society organizations, and primarily the ones of NGO Atina.

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

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 to “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”.

Organization Atina opened the first shelter for victims of trafficking, which after 19 years provides safe accommodation for victims of trafficking and all forms of gender-based violence. Four years ago, the organization licensed this service as “assisted housing”.


Two experts with specific backgrounds in the area of violence against women and girls and a victim-centered and integrated approach to the shelter accommodation will be responsible for five main issues:

  1. Development of a methodology for and Analysis of the existing support and protection services provided to VAWG and domestic violence victims in shelters in Serbia
  2. The analysis should cover not only the legislative framework, but also documents that regulate shelter accommodations, instructions, standards and indicators (especially on licensing). The analysis should consist of a desk research that analyzes legal acts and procedures and determines which aspects are missing.
  3. Creation of online questionnaires (for staff of 15 shelters) and in-depth interviews (with the staff of 5 selected shelters on how their implementation in everyday work is possible)
  4. Field analysis on 5 shelters (implementation of internal procedures and standards is needed)
  5. Development of final documents.

Specific responsibilities are:

The methodology should include methodological framework, indicators, tools and instruments for the development of the Analysis of the existing support and protection services provided to VAWG and domestic violence victims in shelters in Serbia.

The methodology should show how the information will be collected, the structure of the Analysis, and how the Analysis itself will look like. It should provide answers about professionals who will be interviewed, institutions they will be coming from, and the manner and type of data that will be collected. Specific emphasis will be on the information regarding vulnerable groups, such as women and children, especially those that suffered violence. Methodology should explain how the rights to privacy and confidentiality of data will be respected, and how a relationship of trust will be maintained with women victims, as well as with shelter employees.

This Analysis will be conducted based on the methodology created by the two experts. The Analysis is to map the challenges faced by professionals working within the shelters. It should also provide assistance and support to professionals working in this line of work, and open a space for further development of the quality standards proposal for conduct in shelters. The Analysis should result in networking and improving the cooperation between the professionals, and overcoming gaps, challenges and difficulties in their work, with a particular focus on women and children from marginalized groups. It should include recommendations for the improvement of systemic responses to shelter accommodation in Serbia with specific emphasis on marginalized groups of victims of violence. It should include excerpts from interviews with professionals and the issues they are facing, chronological writings on real cases that have occurred in the territory of the Republic of Serbia also including outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

This document will serve as a basic advocacy tool for the improvement of the position of women and girls – victim of violence through enhancing accessibility and capacities of shelters to respond to their actual and assessed need.


The assignment should take place from December 1, 2021 to May 15, 2022.




Development of the methodology for the Analysis


Submitting a draft version of the methodology


Submitting final version of the methodology


Development of the Analysis (desk research)


 online questionnaires (for 15 shelter’s staff) and 5 in-depth interviews


Field analysis on 5 shelters


 Submitting a draft version of the Analysis


 Submitting final version of the Analysis





NGO Atina will negotiate a number of days of engagement with the selected experts 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 required to perform the assignment

            Subtotal                                              Euro__________

            Other costs (specify)                          Euro__________

            TOTAL                                                Euro__________

The total cost should cover all preparatory work regarding data collection, communication costs between the Project team, experts and organizations (email, telephone, fax, mail).



Interested experts should develop and submit the bidding proposal in English language to respond to above-mentioned specific tasks no later than November 29, 2021. The bidding proposal should include:

1. Description and contact details of the expert applying;

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

3. CV of the expert involved emphasizing relevant experience;

4. Written sample of similar assignments.


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;
  • At least 5 years of relevant experience;
  • Experience of the candidate in performing similar projects or programs;
  • An example of previous work as a reference is desirable;


All bids must be submitted no later than 17:00 on November 29, 2021 in electronic form, to the email marija.pantelic@atina.org.rs. A selection will be made no later than November 30, 2021, and the selected experts will be contacted on the same day.

Only selected candidates will be informed.