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Last edited: August 14, 2013

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  • The security sector is comprised of all institutions and other entities with a role in ensuring the security of the state and its people. These include state security actors (e.g. police, armed forces, and intelligence services) as well as management and oversight bodies (e.g. ministries of the interior and defense).  Non-state security actors can include traditional authorities and civilians who are working for private security companies.  In conflict settings where there are peacekeeping missions, security actors also comprise peacekeepers and those deployed to provide support to civilian police.
  • It is the nature of conflict that the capacity of the government to protect its people is severely compromised. Thus, in the early stages of humanitarian intervention, the objective of VAWG and other humanitarian actors is often focused on finding immediate and practical security solutions to the protection needs of women and girls.  Once a reasonable degree of peace has been restored, the focus can be on more extensive measures targeted at building the capacity of the entire security sector to prevent and respond to VAWG, as outlined below.    
  • Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security have underscored the responsibility of actors within the security sector to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings. However, experience from conflicts across the world has shown that perpetrators of violence against women and girls can include members of the security sector, such as official armed and security forces, paramilitary groups, non-state armed groups, humanitarian and peacekeeping personnel, and civilians working in private security companies (Bastick et al, 2007). Sensitizing security sector actors on VAWG and ensuring systems of accountability for perpetrators can therefore be a critical strategy for reducing risks to VAWG in conflict-affected settings.