Women who use drugs, domestic violence and access to shelters

Date: 19 March 2013

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HRI launched a new briefing paper on the issues of ‘Women who inject drugs and experience domestic violence and access to shelters’ at the side event on ‘preventing and eliminating the violence against women: drug policy reform as a way of violence elimination’ organised by Eurasian Harm Reduction Network on 12 March 2013 during the UN Commission on Status of Women.

The briefing paper highlights a general trend of violence among women and specifically focuses on women who use drugs. Furthermore, it outlines intimate partner violence and state obligations to prevent and/or provide support when such violence takes place.

Findings of the paper are that majority of women who use drugs and experience violence are unable to access shelters either due to denial of access by shelter managers or state policies that exclude these women from accessing the shelters.

It is also emphasized that often women’s experience of violence is not addressed in substance use treatment services, which are generally mixed gender. At the same time, shelters for women experiencing domestic violence are not able to address substance use problems and, in most of them, women may not be accepted if they are suspected to be using drugs. In this regard, paper provides country analysis and examples.

More on the protection gap faced by women who use drugs and experience domestic violence can be found here.

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