Few cash transfer programmes appear to specifically target women survivors of domestic violence. As a result this paper takes a broad understanding of social protection. The most effective programmes appear to combine both prevention and response measures. Many of the programmes described below are ‘transformative social protection’, as they aim to change lives through achieving empowerment, equality, social inclusion and the realisation of human rights.
The evidence base for social protection programmes, especially cash transfers, which target women survivors of domestic violence is very weak. The literature is closely connected with literature on programmes addressing violence against women and girls. There is conflicting evidence about whether cash transfers increase or decrease domestic violence, although very few cash transfer programmes have been specifically designed to support survivors of domestic violence.
Interventions have not had the same effect on all women experiencing domestic violence. In addition, interventions may have different impacts over time, with short-term increases in domestic violence followed by long-term decreases, for example.
Factors which contribute to the success of social protection programmes targeted at women survivors of domestic violence include:
- Holistic, comprehensive, long-term programmes: which are more effective than single-focus interventions.
- Economic empowerment measures: which target poverty as an underlying cause of violence and enable women to leave abusive situations.
- Support services: which meet the short- and long-term needs of all women.
- Sound policy and legal frameworks: which address underlying causes and strengthen responses.
- Transformative measures: which change gender power dynamics, and include communities, men and boys.
- Programmes which consider women’s safety and differing needs.
- Capacity development: of all those engaged in combating domestic violence.
Factors which have caused challenges for social protection programmes targeted at women survivors of domestic violence include: