New report: Responding to the needs of sexual violence survivors

25 April 2012

Thanks to colleagues at UNICEF working in the Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility for sharing this report on ‘Responding to the Psychosocial and Mental Health Needs of Sexual Violence Survivors in Conflict-Affected Settings’. The report is another useful resource for our thinking as we finalise plans and materials for negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) taking place in July 2012. For many years now, IANSA women have engaged in campaigns and advocacy for measures to prevent gender based violence and sexual violence against women to be included in the ATT.

In view of the increasing awareness of the need for action, WHO, with UNICEF and UNFPA, on behalf of UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict, convened a technical meeting on responding to the psychosocial and mental health needs of conflict-related sexual violence survivors. The meeting was held in France from 28-30 November 2011 and twenty-nine people from 16 countries attended, representing a range of multilateral agencies, academic institutions, international NGOs, and independent practitioners. The meeting aimed to review existing evidence and experiences and propose preliminary policy, programme and research recommendations.

Six intervention experiences were presented during the meeting, covering Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nepal, Sri Lanka, Syria, Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Sierra Leone. Meeting participants agreed on key areas for action, categorised into community-focused and person-focused interventions, and prioritised according to commonly understood stages of humanitarian response. These areas and recommendations are detailed in the report.

As the report concludes, although the information base is weak, the demand for action is very strong. This imperfect situation demands action to intervene. The humanitarian community should scale up mental health and psychosocial supports for conflict-related sexual violence following accepted best practice while simultaneously conducting research and programme evaluations.

UNICEF, Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility

Original Document:
MHPSS SVC Final Report 3 March 2012-1.pdf (647868 bytes)