About DAO

The umbrella organisation of women’s shelters in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (DAO) unites all women’s shelters in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, including other refuges for women and children. DAO coordinates their collaboration and works at a national level for women affected by violence and their children.


Who we are

DAO was founded in 1987. As a non-profit organisation, it has a tax-exempt status. Its activities are financed mainly through donations and membership fees from the women’s shelters. It first received funding for its coordination office on a project basis, limited to a three-year period, from the Federal Office for Gender Equality in 2021. 

We depend on donations to finance our activities. If you are interested in supporting us, click here to make a donation


Our members 

DAO currently has 23 members in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. The 23 women’s shelters for women and children offer the following core services and share these features:

The members appoint two delegates each to represent their organisation at the twice-yearly delegates’ meeting. The delegates’ meeting is responsible for defining the organisation’s strategic objectives and delegates operational matters to the Management Board. 

The 23 members of DAO are as follows: 

Management Board 

On behalf of the delegates’ meeting and in accordance with the articles of association, the Management Board of DAO is operationally responsible for all the organisation’s business. It is made up of current and/or former employees of women’s shelters or their sponsors, who, in addition to their paid work, volunteer for the concerns of DAO. The Management Board currently consists of:

  • Gabriela Chu, formerly of the Biel and region women’s shelter 
  • Marlies Haller, Stiftung gegen Gewalt an Frauen und Kindern
  • Martine Lachat Clerc, Fribourg women’s shelter Freiburg
  • Silvia Vetsch, St. Gallen women’s shelter


Our General Secretariat

The General Secretary handles the diverse range of operational tasks assigned to the Management Board and supports the Board in the performance of its duties. It handles and promotes coordination within the Management Board and between the women’s shelters. The current General Secretary is Lena John.


What we stand for

DAO campaigns for women affected by violence and their children. We work with a feminist stance. That means we are committed to promoting a non-violent society based on equality for all people. 


What we do 


  • coordinates cooperation and communication between the women’s shelters.
  • promotes the specialist and interdisciplinary exchange of information on the subject of domestic violence/violence against women and children between the women’s shelters, refuges for women and children and other specialist support centres.
  • is a point of contact for specialist agencies, politicians, decision makers at the federal and cantonal level, media professionals and other people interested in domestic violence and women’s shelters. 
  • makes the subject of domestic violence and women’s shelters visible through awareness, educational and public relations work, and promotes the professional discourse.
  • actively campaigns for women and children affected by violence through its political work as a non-partisan, independent organisation. 
  • connects with other national and international organisations and networks to promote its cause.


Our network

DAO is represented in various working groups, expert committees and national and international networks on the subject of domestic violence and women’s shelters.  

We are a member of: 

  • Women against Violence Europe (WAVE): This European network campaigns for the elimination of all forms of violence against women, and facilitates an exchange of information among its more than 100 members across Europe. 
  • Istanbul Convention network: This civic network is committed to the full implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) in Switzerland. DAO is part of the core group and has a coordinating role.
  • NGO Coordination post-Beijing Switzerland: The NGO coordination organisation is a lobby group and centre of excellence for women’s rights and, as such, is committed to the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Financial support and sponsorship

The Federal Office for Gender Equality (FOGE) is supporting DAO for a period of three years (2021-2023) in the form of financial aid to fund measures to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence.

The new DAO website was made possible through financial support from Inner Wheel District 199 as part of the international campaign Caring for Women and Girls.

DAO also receives project-based support from Soroptimist International Switzerland.

Wandtafel mit Beschriftung What's New


Die DAO informiert über Neuigkeiten zu ihren Aktivitäten.


Die DAO macht mit Sensibilisierungskampagnen auf das Thema häusliche Gewalt und das Angebot der Frauenhäuser aufmerksam. Die DAO setzt sich hierbei für gewaltbetroffene Frauen und deren Kinder ein.


Beispielbild - Mutter und Tochter Feldweg


Die DAO ist für Medienschaffende Ansprechpartnerin zum Thema häusliche Gewalt und Frauenhäuser.


Die DAO informiert in ihrem Jahresbericht über ihre Aktivitäten und Finanzen. 

Wandtafel mit einem Pfeil nach links und einem Pfeil nach rechts


Die DAO stellt eine Sammlung der wichtigsten Beratungsangebote sowie Informationen zum Thema häusliche Gewalt und zum Netzwerk der DAO bereit.