Women shelter

in Program

Women shelters have been important in alleviating the problems women and children faces especially domestic violence. They have been temporary stop over for women and children who are running away from abuse. The shelters are used to assist women and children to cope with immediate effects of abuse as they prepare to resettle back in their homes or to make their next step. These shelters usually uses a variety of techniques to assist the victims of abuse by behavioral-cognitive techniques have been found to be quite effective compared to other techniques. Either, most of these shelters have other programs apart from those targeting women and children. In order to understand the functioning of these programs, this study will interview a shelter manager to get a glimpse of how the site operates.


According to the manager of the program, they mainly targets women and children but occasionally handle youths and men. The program was initially started aimed at providing a stop over for women and children but increased cases of abuse on men and youths have forced the program to take them in. The program mainly targets women and children because they are vulnerable and suffer most from the effects of domestics abuses. The program uses behavior and psycho-education approach in order to equip women and children with coping mechanism and behavior changes to avoid familial conflict. For children, the program concentrates on counseling to deal with trauma. However, these are considered as short term measures for all the participants and hence the aim of the shelter is to help the victims of abuse to find direction in their life and to break the cycles of abuse

Who deliver the program?

The shelter cannot be successfully in its programs without having qualified personnel to deliver its program. The effectiveness of those manning the shelter is a great determinant of the state of those who are sheltered in the program as it dictates whether they feel helped or not. The program is usually is delivered by qualified counselors. Counselors have a wide range of experience on domestic abuse.  Most important, they must have in-depth understanding of cognitive and behavioral approach to deal with domestic abuse. In order to enhance discussion and openness among the members of the group, the program also use trainer of trainers from within the group. Under this technique, the participants help each other through sharing their experience and from this they draw strength to give their life a new direction. However, the manager is quick to clarify that this is only used in adults.

Determining the needs of the program

When the shelter started, it could obviously see that the number of women and children suffering from domestic abuse was increasing day by day. However, it was difficult to exactly understand the problems they were going through. In order to determine the need of the program:

  • The program assessed the most pressing problems that women and children seeking shelter were facing. This identified trauma and behavior problems among victims
  • The program also assessed the most practical ways that could help women and children seeking shelter and identified the need to address trauma
  • The program also aimed at making immediate and long term change on the victims and hence addressed long term challenges they were likely to face (Roberts 1998, p. 25).

In light of the above, the program identified the need to address behavioral and cognitive challenges in order to have a long term impact.

Other program

Although the shelter has been mainly aimed at alleviating the problems women and children are facing, the increased case of abuse which cuts across all gender and age have forced the shelter to put in place programs targeting other groups. The shelter has two other programs which currently use the same approach. These include Teen Pregnancy Program which targets school girls and aims at changing their behavior to avoid teenage pregnancy, and Men against Violence Campaign which aims at changing men's behavior to desist domestic abuse

Other models

There are other models in formulation of the program. One of the most evident models that have been used in the shelter is Duluth model which has been widely used in formulation of program goals, policy, philosophy, and objectives (Human Rights Library, 2006, p. 1).


This program has been important in alleviating the problems of women and children suffering from violence. The program is delivered by experienced counselors who have in-depth knowledge of cognitive behavioral approaches and understand domestic abuse. In developing the program the needs of the target population were taken into consideration. The program has a broader outreach having other programs targeting teens and men. The program also uses other models like Duluth model.

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This article was published on 2011/06/07