City and Regional Planning Department
BS in City and Regional Planning
Working at a women’s social work site in Nicaragua, sparked my initial interest in researching and developing a typology of women’s shelters as an useful guide for determining and providing appropriate services. The goal is to create a typology that can be useful in determining what type of facility or shelter is the most effective for different women and the varying backgrounds and situations they are in. The desire to empower women was initiated by my first-hand experience in Nicaragua. There I saw many instances of intimate partner violence (IPV), as well as other, non-physical, forms of abuse. I never witnessed the abuse first-hand, rather, it was the Nicaraguan women themselves who communicated it directly to the team or to our translator. Signs of abuse were demonstrated by physical markers or bruises on the women, and typically visible. The women’s ability to communicate or lack thereof, illustrated that verbal abuse was prominent, influenced by their insecurity and resulting in their slowness to trust others and speak out. This visit and work prompted my desire to pursue investing in women and to identify how best to provide for their needs, and empower women to work towards attaining it individually themselves. Research on the topic has revealed that women around the world lack the services that would encourage them to construct a positive living environment for themselves. This reality stems from multiple reasons, some of which are addressed and explored in this report. This work highlights some of the public policies, programs, and specific services that have been effective and emphasizes the ways that shelters and/or institutions have been successful in addressing these issues and empowering women. This report is not comprehensive, the subject area is vast, but it responds to the experiences of selected domestic and international centers, the measures they have taken to address women’s needs that were examined in this research.