Prevention and response are critical in emergency, conflict and post-conflict situations, since violence against women and girls often increases during these periods
Strategies for unstable settings may include:
- pre-deployment and in-service training for uniformed personnel (military, peacekeepers and police);
- foot and vehicular patrols in areas identified as high risk (by women);
- protocols for all protection officers on how to intervene;
- integration of gender equality issues and violence against women in formal and non-formal education curricula for displaced children and youth;
- public messaging addressing violence against women through radio, television, print media and other entertainment forms that reach a wide audience;
- ensuring women and girls have safe access to humanitarian assistance and basic amenities, such as water, food, fuel and sanitation;
- increasing opportunities for women and girls to participate in political, economic and social activities established in response to the conflict or emergency situation and in peace-building processes;
- Integration of sexual and gender-based violence assessment in national security analysis, reform and programmes (Anderlini et al., 2010).
- incorporating sexual violence in early-stage peace agreements, in order for victims, their families, and their communities to receive specialized medical and psychosocial services from field agencies; to deter sexual violence against civilians by armed groups and to enable monitoring of sexual violence patterns by relief agencies (Jenkins and Goetz, 2010);
- including sexual violence prevention in demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programmes to minimize the risk of post-conflict sexual and gender-based violence by formerly-armed men and boys;
- increasing women in police or military units or developing all-female units to improve community relations, particularly with women, and strengthen intelligence on security issues, even when conducting cordon-and-search operations or other potentially threatening activities; and
- increasing the recruitment of women from countries providing military or police personnel to peacekeeping forces in order to increase women’s experiences and ability to participate in peacekeeping units at all levels.
- Paying attention to sexual violence with respect to the composition, mandate, security and reporting procedures of the ceasefire monitoring apparatus can be just as important as incorporating sexual violence (as a prohibited act) in ceasefire agreements. (Jenkins and Goetz, 2010)
- Protection measures such as patrols and escorts may offer short-term security, but can place women and girls at greater risk for retaliation and future violence if measures are not sustained (such as erratic or inconsistent patrols), lack follow-up (such as rescue from trafficking or other forced circumstances), or the protection is perceived as a result of women and girls’ alliance with a particular side (in the case of visible escorts to support women and girls’ mobility). This reinforces the need for consultation with women when planning any intervention which affects them.
- Regular presence of uniformed personnel through unarmed patrols can help build trust with communities and reinforce respect for human rights and the rule of law among all armed groups.
- Cultivating empathy among uniformed personnel has been shown to be an effective strategy for improving their commitment to protect vulnerable groups such as women and children. (Slim and Mancini-Griffoli, 2007)
Sourcebook on Women, Peace and Security (UN Women, 2012). Available in English.
Global Protection Cluster: GBV Prevention and Response Website. Available in English.
Management of Gender-based Violence in Emergencies E-learning Course (UNFPA and World Education, Inc., 2011). An introduction and the course are available in English.
The Minimum Initial Services Package for Reproductive Health in Crisis Situations: A Distance Learning Module (Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, 2006). Various elements are available in Arabic, Indonesian English, French, Korean, Nepali, Russian and Spanish.
Guidelines for Medico-Legal Care for Victims of Sexual Violence (World Health Organization, 2003). Available in English.
Gender-based Violence Tools Manual (Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium, 2004). Available in English.
Clinical Care for Sexual Assault Survivors: Multimedia Training Toolkit (International Rescue Committee, 2009). Available in English with some resources in French.
The Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, Focusing on Prevention of and Response to Sexual Violence in Emergencies (Inter-agency Standing Committee, 2005). The full guidelines and matrix are available in Arabic, Bahasa, English, French and Spanish.
The IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (Inter-agency Standing Committee, 2007). Guidelines are available in Arabic, English, French, Japanese, Nepali and Spanish.
UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2008). Available in English, French and Spanish.
Women, Girls, Boys and Men: Different Needs-Equal Opportunities, Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action (Inter-agency Standing Committee, 2006). Available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: by UN and Related Personnell (United Nations). Available in English, French and Spanish.