Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Domestic Violence Services (PA-DV) 9: Rights of Shelter and Safe Home Residents

The agency respects survivors’ rights, dignity, values, and goals.
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
  • Shelter or safe home rules
  • Expulsion policy
  • Expulsion procedures
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Survivors
  • Review case records
  • Observe facility

PA-DV 9.01

The shelter or safe home environment promotes a non-threatening, welcoming, and inclusive approach and fosters trust and engagement for all survivors.

PA-DV 9.02

Shelter or safe home rules and expectations are:
  1. developed with survivors;
  2. distributed to survivors, or posted in visible locations; and
  3. designed to promote safety, comfort, healing, and empowerment.


Shelter personnel and safe home providers should attempt to appropriately balance the control necessary to run an efficient and comfortable residence with the freedom necessary for survivors to gain a sense of empowerment. Although it is important that there are rules to maintain safety, shelters and safe homes should also enable survivors to regain control of their lives by making decisions about topics such as daily schedules, spending money, and contact with support systems.

Fundamental Practice

PA-DV 9.03

Written expulsion policies and procedures:
  1. are provided at admission;
  2. are clear and simple, avoiding overly rigid and bureaucratic language and rules;
  3. define specific behaviors, conditions, or circumstances that may result in expulsion, and limit expulsion to extreme situations;
  4. include timely due process provisions;
  5. describe the conditions or process for re-admission; and
  6. require all reasonable efforts be made to provide an appropriate referral.