This document outlines the rationale (designated ‘Rationale’) and basic procedures (designated ‘Actions’) undertaken by facilities that provide care for adolescent and adult victims of trafficking and violence against women and girls. These procedures/actions are based on international minimum standards and guidelines for the operation of care facilities.
As this document is intended for use in the capacity-building of care facilities, the document also indicates the policy, guidelines, training, personnel and material requirements (designated ‘Requirements’) to accomplish those actions.
The target group identified for care is female adolescent and adult victims of trafficking, domestic abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, abandonment, rape, armed conflict and other forms of violence against women and girls.
This document covers the basic activities of care with some exceptions: medical care, legal response, care for pre-adolescent children, and care for HIV+ persons. Standard administrative practices (such as financial management) and staff management requirements (such as a general personnel policy) that are routine for all organizations are not included in this document.
This document, in whole or part, is applicable to long-term shelters, transit homes, overnight shelters, drop-in centres and crisis centres that provide care for female adolescent and adult victims of trafficking and violence against women and girls.
4. Minimum Standards of Care and Human Rights
Nepal does not have a national document for minimum standards of care for facilities that provide support to children or women in need of special protection, or for children without family. For this document, reference to minimum standards has been made to a variety of international standards and guidelines documents. These documents range from broad human rights standards to detailed standards for the operational management for care facilities. (Refer to Annex I: References).
Minimum standards are the foundation of ‘rights-based’ programming, in that they activate the rights of children encompassed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and other instruments. With some exceptions, every right of the child in the UNCRC is put into action through the application of basic minimum standards in the caregiving setting. For example: Article 19, protection from abuse and neglect, is ensured through standards which require, among other things, screening and abuse- protection mechanisms in staff management; Article 12, engaging the child’s opinion in all matters that affect him/her, is ensured through the requirement for participatory mechanisms in deciding matters of treatment, family reunification, etc.
A reference for key minimum standards is provided in Annex II: Universal Minimum Standards. These are a short compilation of key standards from the documents listed in Annex I. This compilation is neither exhaustive nor detailed, and is intended to provide a overview of the standards upon which this document is based.
It should be noted that where minimum standards of care are in effect, they are formal legal requirements under international, national, state and/or local law. Operation according to minimum standards is a legal obligation of the caregiving facility, and lack of adherence to standards can result in closure of the facility, fines and other legal responses.
5. Principles of care
Basic principles of care, implicit in the operation of facilities according to minimum standards, are as follows:
The institution as a last resort. The well-being of women and children is best promoted in the family setting. Should this be unavailable, informal ‘family-like’ care provided by members of the community (extended family care, foster care) is the next option. Formal residential settings are appropriate only if the former are unavailable or the victim requires formal institutional care for legal, medical or psychological reasons.
Rapid reintegration. It is the obligation of the care facility to provide periodic review of placement with the objective of reintegrating the victim into the family or an alternative community setting quickly and effectively. Prolonged institutionalization is discouraged.
Consent. Adults should only be in residential care with their informed consent. Consent should be sought from children placed in residential care, however their consent can be waived by parents, guardians and persons in authority for reasons of their protection and well-being.
Access to family. With all protection considerations, all persons, adult and child, have the right to meet and interact with their family, including family members who are in prison or who may have committed abuse.
Access to appropriate information. All persons in care have the right to be provided all information about their situation, identity, family and medical condition, among others. Denial of information is acceptable only for reasons of protection or possible psychological distress.
Participation in decisions. All persons in care have the right to express their opinions and participate in decisions on all matters affecting them, including residency, treatment, education and occupational training.
Association with others. It is the obligation of the facility to provide all persons in care with access to persons in the surrounding community and the support of peers, and to encourage positive relationships and attachments.
Healing environment. The care facility recognizes the need to create a healing social and physical environment. The social environment includes friendly, positive, non- authoritative interaction between residents and staff, adequate time and opportunity for recreational activities, and access to friends and family. The physical environment includes provision of a personalized space for residents (own bed, private storage of personal belongings, places to personalize their private space with their own belongings such as photographs and mementos), and comfortable, clean ‘home-like’ surroundings.
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