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
Engaging men
Engaging men
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 gender-based violence Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict – a training manual
    HHRI 2014 - This training has been developed for helpers who provide assistance and support to women who survive gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual trauma during disasters, conflicts and emergency situations, where access to health professionals with psychological or psychiatric expertise is limited.
  • We will also like to introduce you to our Gender based violence manual – website. This website is concentrated on our manual "Mental health and gender-based violence Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict – a training manual”. On this web site, you can download the manual and have a closer look at the pilots –trainings that we organized prior to the completion of the manual. We have edited the Butterfly- woman story into one continuous story, as well presented the other tools, such as the grounding exercises, the helping the helpers part and ideas as to how you can conduct training in your context.

    We have also made a small toolbox - boklet with all the tools in the manual, easy to translate into yur own language to make it easier to hold your own trainings. This website is also translated to Spanish. Even though the manual itself, is not translated yet, many of the elements are now in Spanish. You will be able to read the Butterfly woman story, do grounding exercises and hopefully to set up your own training based on this. If you are interested in organizing training at your workplace, in your organization or other relevant contexts, please send us an e-mail and we will provide you with more information and advice, should you want this.

  • IASC Guidelines for Gender- based Violence interventions in humanitarian settings
    Guidelines (334 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” The GBV Guidelines have been revised from the 2005 version by an inter-agency Task Team led by UNICEF and UNFPA, and endorsed by the IASC in 2015
  • 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
  • Camp management toolkit
    Prevention and response to gender based violence on page 126, 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. Also Available in Spanish, Arabic and French. Norwegian Refugee Council 2002, 331 pages.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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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Engaging men

Gender equality cannot be achieved without the involvement of men and boys. But change is slowly taking place, and men are increasingly working alongside women to support gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

  • Engaging Boys and Men in GBV Prevention and Reproductive Health in Conflict and Emergency-Response Settings
    A Workshop Module The ACQUIRE Project, USAID This module is for personnel working in conflict and other emergency-response settings who are interested in engaging boys and men in gender-based violence prevention and reproductive health. This includes those managing or staffing reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, and/or GBV prevention projects in emergency-response settings or conflict zones. Specific audiences to consider targeting are NGO project managers, field staff, health sector coordinators, health promoters, donor representatives, local representatives of ministries of health, and community liaisons working for UNCHR or other U.N. agencies (pdf. 60 pages).
  • Partnering with men to end gender-based violence practices that work from Eastern Europe and Central Asia
    UNFPA - This publication is about five UNFPA-supported projects in South and Eastern Europe that have made monumental strides in engaging men in the prevention of gender-based violence. The people responsible for these projects are on the cutting edge of development efforts, yet they often feel they are fighting an uphill battle. Violence remains pervasive in the region, with estimates showing that one woman in three still experiences abuse in her lifetime.1 Attitudes and practices that perpetuate violence against women are accepted as norms, and countless crimes go unpunished ( pdf, 108 pages).
  • Engaging Men and Boys in Refugee Settings to Address Sexual and Gender Based Violence
    UN Women, Women’s Commission & Sonk - A report from a workshop held in Cape Town, South Africa, 22-25 September, 2008 Prepared by Caroline Aasheim, Dale Buscher, Dean Peacock and Lynn Ngugi
    Engaging men and boys has emerged as a vital strategy for ending gender based violence, including in refugee and post-conflict settings. While prevention and response activities are essential, the humanitarian community and host country service providers understand that they must move beyond simply addressing each individual case of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and begin to address the societal, cultural, economic, religious and political systems that either perpetuate or allow for violence based on gender to continue (pdf. 28 pages).
  • UNFPA - Engaging men & boys
    UNFPA works with men and boys around the world to advance gender equality – with benefits for all. These programmes are encouraging men and boys to abandon harmful stereotypes, embrace respectful, healthy relationships, and support the human rights of all people, everywhere.
  • Challenging sexual and gender-based violence in institutional settings
    By immersing the participants in a programme of dialogue and action that challenge the inherent nature of male privileges and power structures in society – government, academia and workplace – the men learned a lot about themselves and how they can begin to address inequities. By providing step-by-step tools, discussion topics and stories about the Mobilising Men participants, the publication acts as a guide for activists to instil change in institutions that impede women’s progress through both subtle and obvious barriers (pdf, 114 pages).
  • Masculinities & Engaging Men: Training Manual to end GBV
    African Women’s Development and Communication Network 2013
    The overall goal of the Men to Men Programme is to create a critical mass of African men who are able to influence communities, organizations and the public to believe in and practise gender equality as a norm. The manual on masculinities provides rich content for trainers and facilitation tips for each session. The manual is meant to enhance men's knowledge on the link between masculinities, GBV and the spread of HIV/AIDS, and equip men with practical skills for training other men on combating GBV and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

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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.

  • Eliminating female genital mutilation, an interagency statement.
    Statement of the WHO about that topic, definitions, consequences and needed actions. – WHO 2008
  • Changing a harmful social convention: female genital mutilation/cutting UNICEF-Innocenti Research Centre 2008
  • Female genital mutilation: a handbook for frontline workers
    Booklet with examples (f.e. Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda), impacts on women`s health an situation, possible prevention programs. – WHO 2000
  • A statistical exploration on female genital mutilation.
    Solid long collection of data, facts and statistics. Socio-economic and demographic facts, underlying causes and attitudes, conclusions and recommendations. – UNICEF 2005
  • Combating Female Genital Mutilation in Europe
    Comparative analysis of legislative and preventive tools in combating female genital mutilation (FGM) in Europe. The paper discusses the possibilities to combat the problem in Europe, where it becomes a concern too, due to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. – 2005/06
  • The impact of harmful traditional practices on the girl child
    Article about the ompact of FGM on girl children. Focus on background, statistics and facts, as well as on religion, beliefs etc. Discussion of possible interactions. – UNICEF 2006
  • Impact of psychological disorders after female genital mutilation among Kurdish girls in Northern Iraq
    This study investigated the mental health status of young girls after genital mutilation in Northern Iraq. Although experts assume that circumcised girls are more prone to psychiatric illnesses than non-circumcised girls, little research has been conducted to confirm this claim. For the purpose of this study, it was assumed that female genital mutilation is connected with a high rate of posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD). Jan Ilhan Kizilhan - Eur. J. Psychiat.Vol. 25, N.° 2, (92-100) 2011
  • UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on female genital mutilation-cutting: accelerating change Annual Report 2010 for the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. The annual report highlights some of the achievements, challenges and best practices for the abandonment of FGM/C and emphasizes the importance of continued partnerships with governments, media, civil society organizations and religious leaders.
  • Ending Female Genital Cutting:A Positive Deviance Approach in Egypt The struggle against FGC in Egypt has gained momentum.2 Key activities have included lectures on the harmful consequences of the procedure; production of materials to raise public awareness; advocacy and research; and the integration of FGC awareness and eradication goals into social development programs.3 Most of these approaches, however, have been premised on the root causes of FGC.
  • Promoting FGM Abandonment in Egypt: Introduction of Positive Deviance Pamela A. McCloud, Dr. Shahira Aly,Sarah Goltz Since 1998, CEPDA has been working to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Egypt. CEDPA spearheaded the use of the “positive deviance approach” to FGM abandonment and has been engaged in a learning experience with many partners and communities in Egypt. After working through the various phases of the program, a model has been developed to guide community organizations in implementing FGM abandonment programs. The development of this innovative model has created a strong base for the current FGM Abandonment Program activities.
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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