Selected links on Gender Based Violence

In 1993, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women offered the first official definition of the term “Gender-based Violence”: “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” Gender-based violence has become an umbrella term for any harm that is perpetrated against a person’s will, and that results from power inequalities that are based on gender roles. Around the world, gender-based violence almost always has a greater negative impact on women and girls. For this reason the term "Gender-based Violence" is often used interchangeably with the term "Violence against Women" (VAW). GBV principally affects those across all cultures. GBV can occur throughout a woman's lifecycle, and can include everything from early childhood marriage and genital mutilation, to sexual abuse, domestic violence, legal discrimination and exploitation. In what way should we meet women who have been victims of gender-based violence? It is extremely important to meet women who have been victims of gender-based violence in a respectful and dignified manner. Below we have collected some useful links about GBV:

Definitions and basic terms to Gender Based Violence
Guidelines and Tools
Human rights and Gender Based Violence - legal texts, resolutions etc
Gender Based Violence in the context of war and conflict
Female Genital Mutilation
Human Trafficking
Organisations and sites

Definitions and basic terms to Gender Based Violence

This presents a collection of articles, websites etc. You’ll find a wide choice of more general documents - statements and definitions of the WHO or UN, as well as more specific ones addressing f.ex the situation in some countries. Some cover Gender-based Violence all over, also included is domestic violence against women (occurring all over the globe, also in “peaceful” countries). Some are more specific concerning GBV in the context of war or conflict.

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Guidelines and Tools

This represents a collection of manuals and guidelines, which try from different points of view to help field workers to cope with the aftermath of GBV, the traumas and injuries of the survivors. Very often the focus here is aimed at situations during or after war/conflict. Therefore most of these manuals are targeting more practical aspects of fieldwork, as for instance organizing a field camp. Some provide a lot of information about GBV. Some try also to set focus on communication with the survivors, as the topic GBV is a very sensitive one and therefore sometimes difficult to approach in contact with the survivor. The effects of GBV are manifold and always severe. There are physical injuries that may remain, as chronic pain syndromes, muscle and skeleton damages, infections, sexually transmitted diseases. In the recent years it has come more in focus that also the psychological effects are severe, sometimes more serious than the physical ones. To name here PTSD(post traumatic stress disease) in all its varieties, depression, panic disorders.

  • Mental health and psychosocial support for conflict-related sexual violence: principles and interventions1
    This is a summary of the report from a meeting on Responding to the psychosocial and mental health needs of sexual violence survivors in conflict-affected settings, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on behalf of United Nations Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UNAction), on 28–30 November 2011 in Ferney-Voltaire, France.
  • A practical approach to gender based violence – a programme guide for health care providers & managers
    Manual (74 p.) which tries to provide health care providers with the necessary information about GBV. This manual has some focus on how to approach a difficult topic to talk about, as GBV represents for most of the survivors, in a psychological way. It tries to arouse sensibility and improved interviewing skills. - UN Population Fund 2001
  • Guidance for mediators: Addressing conflict-related sexual violence in ceasefire and peace agreements
    This guidance offers advice to aid the mediator and his/her team in addressing a frequently used method and tactic of warfare: conflict-related sexual violence. It provides strategies for including this security and peace building concern within ceasefire and security arrangements and in framing provisions for post-conflict justice and reparations. -UN Department of Political Affairs 2012
  • Handbook for Coordinating GBV interventions in humanitarian settings
    A quick-reference tool that provides practical guidance on leadership roles, key responsibilities and specific actions to be taken when establishing and maintaining a GBV coordination mechanism in an emergency. The handbook is based on the IASC Guidelines for GBV- Interventions in Humanitarian Settings (2005) and also takes into account lessons learned, good practices and emerging resources related to GBV coordination within the cluster approach/humanitarian reform process as well as relatively recent global initiatives on GBV in emergencies. Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility Working Group (2010, 348 p.).
  • Gender-based Violence Tools Manual
    This manual (207 p.) tries to cover most of administrative and organizational considerations required to establish help. Lots of form-sheets useful to organize help practically. Form-sheets for structured interviews etc. “For Assessment & Program Design, Monitoring & Evaluation in conflict-affected settings” RHRC 2004
  • Facilitator's Guide - Training Manual for Multisectoral and Interagency Prevention and Response to Gender-based Violence
    This manual includes and provides information and (interactive) training to create workshops and seminars, for planning interventions to address GBV in displaced settings around the world. Most focus on administrative and practical issues, some information about mental (psychological) damage after GBV. - RHRC 2004
  • Prevention and response to gender based violence
    A “camp management toolkit” which tries to cover most under practical aspects the challenge to focus on GBV, with basic examples including camp design and layout. Nothing specific about mental health. , Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Clinical management of rape survivors
    Guidelines how to approach survivors of GBV, clinical management on basic level (“how to examine..”), poorly concerning mental health/psychological impact. - UNHCR 2004
  • IASC Guidelines for Gender- based Violence interventions in humanitarian settings
    Guidelines (100 p.) with focus on practical aspects and approach ( f.e. shelter, security, food). Nothing in specific about mental health. - “Prevention of and response to sexual violence in emergencies” UNHCR 2005
  • Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons
    Guidelines with an overview over the topic GBV, with some considerations about prevention and response. - UNHCR 2003
  • Mental health of refugees
    Manual (96 p.)to help those who work with refugees/displaced persons. Here is the focus on to enable the helpers themselves to cope with the traumas of the survivors, and to raise skills in approaching the mental health problems. 10 units, suitable to set up workshops. Very useful. - UNHCR/WHO 1996
  • Checklist for Action - Prevention & Response to Gender-Based Violence in Displaced Settings
    Short checklist approaching mainly practical considerations how to cope with the aftermath of GBV and the survivors. - RHRC 2004
  • Researcher Trauma, Safety and Sexual Violence Research
    Briefing paper- Working and researching with victims of sexual violence can be traumatic to the researcher and can result in secondary traumatic stress or vicarious traumatisation. This paper explores the experiences of sexual violence researchers from different countries, identifying the issues that traumatized them and the protective strategies they found effective. - SVRI 2010
  • Communication skills in working with survivors of GBV / workshop
    A 5-day-training in communication/Trainers Workshop (194 p.). Enables participants to emphasize better in communication with survivors, and make them capable to organize a setting that takes care both of the survivor and the field-worker. Can be used to set up a workshop. Lots of form-sheets, info-leaflets, hand-outs, quite useful.
  • Data-based course for instructors and participants about gender/peacekeeping
    This course is data-based (e-learning), provides with slides and other information, mainly to raise understanding and sensibility around the topic “gender and conflict/post-conflict”. Information to increase knowledge about GBV
  • Sexual and Gender-based Violence - Overview
    A field manual on reproductive health in refugee situations, which provides with considerations and advice concerning prevention, responding, monitoring. - UNFPA, 1999
  • Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence
    Solid manual (154 p.) which provides with knowledge about GBV and mostly focuses on necessary settings, but strongly practical (f.e. how to physically examine, about documentation, poorly focus on counseling). - WHO 2003
  • Trauma Treatment Manual
    A guide in text-form to raise understanding for the topic GBV and trauma, and improve communication-skills for field workers helping trauma-survivors, communication examples for approach. - Ed Schmookler PhD, 2001
  • Preventing Gender-based Violence, Building Livelihoods Guidance and Tools for Improved Programming
    New livelihood strategies can increase the risk of gender-based violence (GBV). Women often have no safety net; they usually flee with few resources and little preparation and may become separated from or lose family members. A lack of access to economic opportunities while displaced often forces women and girls to resort to harmful measures to survive. Women’s Refugee Commission 2011
  • Managing Gender-based Violence Programmes in Emergencies e-learning course.
    Developed by the UNFPA and World Education, Inc., in consultation with a wide range of GBV experts and humanitarian and development actors worldwide, the goal of this course is to improve the knowledge of programme managers to better address the issue of gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies. 2011
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Human rights and Gender Based Violence - legal texts, resolutions etc

Here we try to present a collection of legal framework, which already exist. Especially The United Nations agreement on some resolutions, which define the topic in a very solid mode, including suggestions on how to proceed. Implementing these resolutions and agreements in the reality of war-situations and preventing GBV from happening is the issue that is to be focused on. In response to persistent advocacy from civil society the UN Security Council has so far, adopted five resolutions on "Women, Peace and Security". These resolutions are: Security Councils Resolution 1325 (2000); 1820 (2009); 1888 (2009); 1889 (2010) and 1960 (2011). The five resolutions should be taken together under a single umbrella, as they comprise the Women, Peace and Security international policy framework. They guide work to promote and protect the rights of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. Additionally, as binding Security Council resolutions, they should be implemented by all Member States and relevant actors, including UN system entities and parties to conflict.

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Gender Based Violence in the context of war and conflict

There are many articles covering the topic of GBV in a more general meaning, here also including domestic violence (occurring also in “stabile” countries). We are trying here to collect some essays and articles, which are highlighting the specific problems concerning GBV in war and conflict zones

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Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation – FGM – represents a serious impact both to the physical and mental health of the affected women and girls. It is part of reality for many women around the world, to consider as quite severe not least because it is furthermore seen as “normal” in many ways of many of the involved persons. So it represents a major challenge to face because of the many background aspects which are to consider.

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Human Trafficking

“Human trafficking” is called the practice of people being tricked, lured, coerced or otherwise removed from their home or country, then forced to work with no or low payment, or on terms which are highly exploitative. The practice is considered to be the trade or commerce of people, which has many features of slavery, and which is illegal in most countries. The victims of human trafficking are used in a variety of situations, including prostitution and forced labor and other forms of involuntary servitude. The sale of babies and children for adoption or other purposes is also considered to be trafficking. A wide variety of crimes and human rights abuses are associated with trafficking. We have focused here on human trafficking concerning women and girls, as this represents a part of Gender-based Violence.

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Organisations and sites

Some useful links to organizations distributing information and working with survivors of GBV.

Kirkegata 5, 0153 Oslo, Norway