Terms of Reference for the Mentors to conduct tailored mentorship support for improving the accessibility and capacity of safe houses for women and children victims of violence in Serbia

Terms of Reference for the Mentors to conduct tailored mentorship support for improving the accessibility and capacity of safe houses for women and children victims of violence in Serbia

Published on August 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: Better support for women and children victims of violence - improving the accessibility and capacity of safe houses 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 – victims of violence – by enhancing the accessibility and capacities of shelters to respond to their actual and assessed needs. The project has three main results to achieve. In the first phase, an Analysis of the existing support and protection services provided to VAWG and domestic violence victims in shelters in Serbia will be done, followed by data collection through online questionnaires and focus group interviews. The Analysis of the existing support and protection services provided to VAWG and domestic violence victims in shelters in Serbia should lead to the development of a proposition of quality standards to ensure a victim-centred and integrated approach to shelter accommodation. In the second phase, mentoring sessions are planned, which should be held for 5 safe houses in the following cities - Nis, Zrenjanin, Sremska Mitrovica, Kragujevac and Pancevo. In the third phase, trainings and mentorships for the professionals working within save houses from the territory of Serbia, which are scheduled for September, October and November 2022, will be implemented.


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. Four years ago, the organization licensed this service as “assisted housing”. 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.


Two experts, with specific backgrounds in the area of psychology, psychotherapy (specifically integrating trauma informed-care approach, victim-centred approach, self and collective care approach, as well as in creating an internal crisis response plan) should carry out the tailored mentorship support to shelter capacity building initiatives on safety health measures, making targeted shelters accessible to all the women, especially those from marginalized groups. The goal of mentorship sessions is to advance the capacities of professional workers and associates in order to improve the position of children and women victims of violence, as well as the accessibility and capacity of safe houses to respond to the real and estimated needs of victims of violence.

Mentorship sessions with the staff of 5 selected shelters should respond to the specific needs expressed by the staff in the first project phase (research) and should serve to provide tailored support in integrating trauma informed-care approach, victim-centred approach, self and collective care approach, as well as in creating an internal crisis response plan (the license provides for the part related to the planning and implementation of restrictive measures, mostly for individual cases, but something similar could regulate the procedure in situations such as the pandemic). In addition, mentorship with the staff of at least 3 of these selected shelters should focus on ensuring the availability of shelters and other support for women from marginalized groups and consequently removing any obstacles they might face in accessing sheltered accommodation services in these 3 selected shelters and the promotion of self and collective care approach, as well as to create an internal crisis response plan (target: 3 visits x 3 shelters);

The mentorships are intended for professional workers, as well as associates engaged in providing shelter services for women and children victims of domestic violence, as well as for representatives of service providers, i.e. centers for social work, centers for the development of local services, citizens' associations' representatives.

The mentorships are scheduled to be realized from 10 October 2022 until 25 November 2022 for a total number of 5 selected shelters.

Implementation of the whole process of planning and delivering of the mentoring sessions should last from September 15 until December 1, 2022.




15/09/2022 – 10/10/2022

Preparation of the methodology for the mentorships, making an assessment on safe houses in Serbia

10/10/2022 – 25/11/2022

Implementation of the mentorship sessions and visits to 5 safe houses

25/11/2022 - 01/12/2022

Delivering comprehensive evaluation report on implemented activities










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                                               USD__________

            Other costs (specify)                           USD__________

            TOTAL                                               USD__________

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 September 5, 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 trainers 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 10 years of relevant experience;
  • Experience of the candidate in performing similar projects or programs;
  • An example of previous work as a reference of previous experience is desirable.


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

A selection will be made no later than September 8, 2022, and the selected consultant will be contracted no later than September 9, 2022. Only the selected candidate will be informed.