Webinar #14: The GNWS Women’s Helplines Project

GNWS COVID-19 Webinar Series


  • Marieke Ruinard, WAVE, Netherlands
  • Cindy Southworth, National Network to End Domestic Violence, USA


  • Rachel Gibson – National Network to End Domestic Violence, USA

The Women’s Helplines Project

The Global Network of Women’s Shelters wants women and children to be safe in every country of the world. Direct help is essential for victims of domestic and sexual violence. A women’s helpline is one of the most important ways of enabling victims to find help and support.

If a woman needs help, what number do you want to give her?

Currently across the globe

  • There is NO respected global website that lists accurate, vetted, safe resources for victims of domestic and sexual violence in every country across the world.
  • There is no global organization responsible for collecting and constantly updating reliable and accurate helpline information on every continent.
  • Over 20% of the countries worldwide do not provide women’s helplines

Our global network unites daily experience with essential services and direct help to women and their children who are victims of domestic or sexual violence in every part of the world: we provide helplines, crisis centers, counseling and community services, shelters and rape centers. We work from a human rights and feminist perspective. We know what women need.

A global website with trustworthy and validated helpline information for victims of sexual or domestic violence is a necessary part of integrated services for women in crisis. It is also a vital referral source for supportive friends, colleagues, family members, and for professionals (including police, doctors, hospitals, legal advisors, government or embassy staff).

Currently the European Network WAVE6 has the only continent-wide vetted list of helplines on their website https://www.wave-network.org/find-help/. The GNWS proposes to build on the data already collected by the European network to avoid duplicating efforts, but to ensure that helplines for every country in the world are easy to access in a crisis. WAVE has struggled to keep the helpline information up to date and accurate with only one half-time position funded to maintain all of the helpline and NGO information for across all of Europe. This proposal includes some modest additional staffing funds to enable a full-time staff person to work across Europe to regularly update the database. It also contains some modest staffing to allow the GNWS to collect and vet helpline and NGO information from all continents.

As mentioned on the webinar, GNWS is collecting the national helpline for every country so victims and their friends and family have a place to find accurate support. Even if your country doesn’t have a national helpline, we want to know! In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also asking about text, chat, and email helplines. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief form so we can continue to update our list of helplines. If you have already completed the form, thank you so much. Your information is greatly appreciated!

Form in English: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc3ykdy9kjBqce58cGvFmpKv6DHiblZNnnWH6m0vmoqcAb67A/viewform

Forma en Español: https://forms.gle/X6Rw6hHM7Lo6SmC57

List of helplines listed on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/safety/domesticviolenceresources

Previous Webinar Recordings

2 September 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4HUHpa2PuQ

15 July 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWSWebinar12

1 July 2020: https://youtu.be/eRGpZeXyXxI

17 June 2020: https://youtu.be/mLEICnVTMNA

3 June 2020: https://youtu.be/aymp8kklfw4

20 May 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_8

6 May 2020: https://youtu.be/k2h0XGANrHM

29 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_6

22 April 2020: https://bit.ly/serving_survivors

15 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_4

8 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWSTech

1 April 2020: https://shelterasia.org/2020/04/01/report-on-coronavirus-webinar-2-policy-perspectives-on-protection-of-victims-of-domestic-violence/

25 March 2020: https://shelterasia.org/2020/03/27/video-and-qa-from-the-coronavirus-and-womens-shelters-planning-preparation-and-response-to-the-covid-19-pandemic-webinar

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