Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Domestic Violence Services (PA-DV) 10: Shelter and Safe Home Facilities

The shelter or safe home provides a safe, clean, non-institutional setting that meets residents’ immediate needs.
NA The agency does not provide shelter or safe home services.
2020 Edition




Individuals who receive Domestic Violence Services gain a sense of empowerment, improve their well-being, and increase their ability to live safely and independently.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for facility safety and security
  • Procedures for facility maintenance
  • Procedures for evaluating and monitoring safe homes
  • Table of contents of safe home provider training curricula 
  • Criteria for making group assignments
  • Documentation of safe home evaluation and monitoring, if applicable
  • Safe home provider training curricula, if applicable
  • Documentation of safe home provider training, if applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Survivors
  • Observe facility

Fundamental Practice

PA-DV 10.01

Shelters and safe homes implement security systems and procedures that include:
  1. protecting the location of the shelter or safe home;
  2. procedures for managing threats to safety; and
  3. ensuring residents, personnel, and safe home providers are aware of potential risks and familiar with all aspects of the security system and procedures.

PA-DV 10.02

Accommodations for residents include:
  1. single rooms, rooms for two to four residents, or accommodations for larger groups, if appropriate;
  2. adequately and attractively furnished rooms with a separate bed for each resident, including a clean, comfortable, covered mattress, pillow, sufficient linens, and blankets;
  3. a non-stacking crib for each infant and toddler that is 24 months or younger that meets safety guidelines, as applicable; and
  4. a safe place such as a locker to keep personal belongings and valuables.
Examples: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides standards to ensure safety for full-size and non-full size cribs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that cribs are used by children under 90 centimeters (35 inches) tall.

PA-DV 10.03

Shelters and safe homes meet the basic needs of survivors by providing:
  1. food;
  2. clothing;
  3. personal hygiene supplies; and
  4. safe, private bathroom and shower facilities.


Bathroom and shower facilities may be separate lockable rooms, or lockable stalls.

PA-DV 10.04

Shelters and safe homes provide:
  1. sufficient supplies and equipment to meet residents’ needs;
  2. rooms for the provision of on-site services, if applicable;
  3. accommodations for informal gatherings of residents, including during inclement weather; 
  4. adequate facilities for housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, storage, and administrative support functions;
  5. at least one room suitably furnished for the use of on-duty personnel, if applicable; and
  6. private sleeping accommodations for personnel who sleep at the facility, if applicable.

PA-DV 10.05

When grouping individuals the shelter or safe home considers the number, age, special needs, and gender of residents.

PA-DV 10.06

Shelters and safe homes house families as a unit and keep sibling or family groups together.
NA The shelter or safe home does not serve families, or housing families as a unit is not possible or prohibited by law.

Fundamental Practice

PA-DV 10.07

The agency ensures that safe homes meet the needs of survivors by:
  1. evaluating each safe home prior to use;
  2. providing safe home providers with orientation prior to housing survivors, and ongoing training and supervision on topics relevant to supporting survivors and their children or other family members, including the importance of protecting confidentiality; and
  3. monitoring safe homes on an ongoing basis.
NA The agency does not provide safe home services.