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Security efforts should be focused on taking a survivor-centred approach

Last edited: December 29, 2011

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Respecting and upholding the rights of women and girls should be central to all security efforts. As part of a survivor-centred approach, personnel should respect women’s confidentiality and decisions in regards to the incident. For example, this includes if they decide not to immediately (or ever) pursue a case against the perpetrator(s) or choose to not be involved in the case, in instances of mandatory arrest and prosecution by law enforcement. Focusing on the survivor also requires that security personnel and policies reflect an awareness of the immediate and ongoing threats facing women and girls who have experienced violence. For example, in cases of domestic violence, where survivors may be living with their abuser, identifying a secure location where she feels safe to meet and conduct safety planning should be considered in the design of interventions. In cases that involve sexual exploitation, the lives of women and girls may be at imminent risk of danger from the criminal networks and individuals that have trafficked her. She is also likely to be physically moved at any point, which can create additional dangers if she has engaged law enforcement, but has not received additional protection. Other forms of violence similarly require particular safety measures (e.g. facilitating access to safe houses or shelters for those at risk of crimes committed in the name of honour).