Newsletter. GBV Manual Now Available in More Languages

Newsletter No. 3 2017 MHHRI Gender Based Violence Manual Now Available in More Languages

20.09 2017

Dear friends and colleagues

HHRI has developed a manual in order to provide input, tools and ways of working and assisting women who have been exposed to sexual violence in conflict… the idea is to provide something practical and easily accessible to those who are working in the field. The strength of the manual is that it is based on a human rights perspective, standards and values and it is gender oriented to respond to a very specific form of trauma: sexual violence. 

Nora Sveaass, Chair of the Board at HHRI. June 2017

Health and Human Rights Info. (HHRI) has just released the Arabic, Russian and Spanish versions of our training manual Mental health and gender-based violence: Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict also known as “HHRI GBV Manual”.

As some of you know, this tool is not a therapy manual, but a training manual on approaches and techniques that address the psychological needs of survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). It is a tool for helpers assisting and providing care to individuals who are exposed to this form of violence. It focuses especially on ways of understanding how trauma affects the lives of survivors, and how we can assist them in getting a better understanding themselves of their own reactions. At the same time, it focuses on the strengths, resilience and resources. The manual presents ways of approaching women exposed to rape and other forms of sexual violence in contexts of disasters, conflicts and emergency situations, where access to health professionals with psychological or psychiatric expertise usually is very limited.

It may also supplement and deepen the understanding of trauma and its consequences for health workers, who already have knowledge and experience. It may be a tool for helpers who train other helpers and for groups of helpers who need self-study materials. The manual can be read, studied or discussed, and the exercises it contains can be tested and applied in groups working on the subject.

The manual explores the psychological meaning of trauma and how traumatic events affect mental health. It describes the signs of severe stress as well as information on how these reactions can be assessed and understood. It offers advice on how helpers can approach women immediately following GBV, respecting their own limits, and how to deal with the distress they are experiencing. In particular, the creation of safe spaces that permit supportive dialogue and ways of stabilizing and “grounding” a person feeling fear and anxiety. The manual also describes how the survivor can be prepared to report a violation with an emphasis on ensuring the rights and safety of those involved, and the importance of supporting a woman in such a situation.

The editions in more languages, in addition to the original one in English, came as a request of helpers who have tried the original tool and found it useful, in countries such as Lebanon, Cambodia, Colombia, Sudan, Iraq, Rumania, Papua New Guinea, Norway, and Turkey. Through the availability of the manual in these key languages, HHRI hopes to assist many helpers around the world and, ultimately, provide hope and basic, but critical, mental health assurance to survivors in greater need.

These translations into languages has meant a great effort, and it would not have been possible without the very generous assistance and contribution done by UNHCR and Norwegian Church Aid. We are warmly indebted to their great support to make it possible.

Furthermore, in June 2017, HHRI initiated a training of trainers in order to increase its capacities to respond to requests from different entities -inside Norway and abroad- who wish to use the manual and, finally, we have also conducted trainings on skype, in order to reach more people close to where they work, and we hope to develop this methodology further.

Further reading on HHRI GBV Manual

Video interview with Nora Sveaass on HHRI GBV Manual 
Human Rights House Foundation/Oslo office. June, 2017
“The Manual is clearly gender orientated… that does not mean that some of the information on trauma is not useable in other forms of traumatic events or contexts where violations occur. I am thinking especially about human rights defenders who may be exposed to reprisals of different sorts, and many of them may be survivors of severe human rights violations as well.”

HHRI Gender based Violence Manual Report 
April, 2017
The manual was developed by clinical psychologists and researchers associated with Health and Human Rights Info. Preliminary training sessions have been conducted in Jordan, Cambodia, Colombia, Turkey and Norway. Further face-to-face trainings have taken place in Norway, Sudan, Iraq, Colombia, Romania as well as a webinar focusing on helpers related to the Syrian crisis. The last training happend in Tbilisi, Georgia. Health and Human Rights Info held a joint training seminar with the Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) at Human Rights House Tbilisi from 11 to 13 September 2017. Twenty-three professionals – doctors, psychologist and social workers – benefited from the training on working with survivors of GBV.

A webinar based on the training manual 
September, 2016
This e-training material is based on the manual and will give an introduction to how you can use the manual and arrange a training by yourself. The manual has been written for the many people who in different ways provide direct assistance to women who survive gender-based and sexual trauma during disasters, wars and conflicts, where helpers have limited or no access to specialized health services. Listen to all 6 sessions and answer the final reflection to apply for a certificate.

Presentation of HHRI GBV Manual 
November, 2016
If you are working with survivors, or involved in training of helpers working directly with survivors or in other ways engaged in the topic of assisting survivors of gender based violence, we hope that the manual can be useful for you.

Thematic pages 
This is in addition to the database. Here we have gathered selective information essential to the different topics. The topics have been chosen on the basis of their actuality, relevance and importance. Here you can also find a thematic page on Torture with Russian links

All manuals can be downloaded from the MHHRI website

There are three different manuals, which respectively address working with women, with boys and men, and with children who have experienced sexual violence.

The manuals are translated into several languages. The page numbers in each manual remain the same across languages. This allows survivors and helpers to work from copies in their preferred language and read the same content on the same pages. It also makes it easier to teach participants when participants and trainers work in more than one language. The manuals include a toolbox. Survivors can use it individually to regulate their own emotions through grounding exercises or in collaboration with a helper. Helpers can also use grounding exercises to take care of themselves as helpers.

We appreciate feedback and comments 

Welcome to our new subscribers, we hope you will find our content useful. The Mental Health and Human Rights Info Newsletter is a newsletter with the aim to provide insight on a certain subject across the scope of our work; human rights violations in war and conflict areas and mental health. Our intention is to deliver a newsletter as a short “lecture” where you can find relevant information regarding a specific subject from a mental health perspective. You will receive our newsletter 5 times a year.

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Sincerely yours,
Take care – and we are wishing you all the best.

Sincerely yours,

Mental Health and Human Rights Info