Sexual Assault Referral Centres as Best Practice – Position Paper

“Almost 28.5% of women (3 million women) in Romania are victims of physical and/or sexual violence throughout their lives, and 6% of women (600,000 women) fall victim to sexual violence. Thus, sexual violence constitutes a matter of national public health which requires urgent action. Moreover, sexual violence is one of the least reported and sanctioned crimes. […] In Romania, social services for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence are profoundly underdeveloped and fall significantly behind the European average, in that, for instance, there is no national helpline for victims of sexual violence and 71% of necessary shelter places for women are missing, according to the European standards which recommend one shelter place for 10,000 inhabitants. Furthermore, Romania lacks emergency sexual assault referral centres or specialized units within the emergency hospitals. Additionally, according to Law No. 217/2003 on preventing and combating domestic violence, the access to shelters is guaranteed only to women who are victims of domestic violence. Consequently, the victims of sexual violence cannot be accommodated in these centres unless the abuse was perpetrated by a family member.

Consequently, to provide victims of sexual violence with immediate, coordinated and integrated services, the establishment of sexual violence referral centres is imperative. These centres would provide the following services: emergency medical care, forensic assistance, psychological assistance, legal support, as well as information and referral of victims to medium- and long-term assistance services.”

Read the full proposal of Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence for the creation of Sexual Assault Referral Centres here: Shortcomings and Solutions_Sexual Assault Referral Centres in Romania