Refugee children

New report: Exemplary practices to protect refugee women and girls in the EU

Hamburg, 16 December 2016 – Women and girls fleeing from war, persecution and violence in their home countries are particularly at risk of sexual and gender-based violence during their journey to safety and when they arrive in the European Union. In advance of International Migrants Day on 18 December, the World Future Council, filia.die frauenstiftung and UN Women National Committee Germany launch a report on good practices to better protect refugee women and girls in the EU.

The report suggests positive actions that policy-makers and civil society organisations can take to ensure that refugee women and girls arriving in the EU are safe from violence. “Refugee women and children face various risks at every stage of their journey,” says María Fernanda Espinosa, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva and Co-Chair of the Ending Violence against Women and Girls Commission of the World Future Council. “This is an endemic problem that we must take urgent action to end. Governments, international organisations and civil society need to make a greater effort to prevent any kind of violence against refugee women and girls and take steps to ensure that they are effectively protected from violence.”

The collection includes more than 30 good practices from 13 different countries. It is intended as a resource for governments, local, regional and national authorities, policy-makers and civil society organisations, who are encouraged to review and adapt practices from other countries for their own context.

“The publication of this collection of good practices provides an opportunity to galvanise policy-makers into action and focus resources on developing the policies, programmes and response services that will protect refugee women and girls from violence,” says Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council and the Right Livelihood Award. “This report is a useful tool to find practices and policies that can be easily replicated and adapted, and provide inspiration for new approaches to address this issue.”

The publication profiles successful practices that are innovative, practical and transferable from a wide and diverse range of actors. It contains demonstrated models but also innovative approaches to tackle and prevent violence and support survivors. The report pays particular attention to grassroots initiatives that have been designed and delivered in close collaboration with refugee women, with the aim of strengthening their self-empowerment and self-organising. It covers such issues as adequate reception conditions, describing innovative and practical approaches to create safe spaces such as mobile units and day centres. It also includes grassroots projects that apply a peer-to-peer approach and create networks of intercultural mediators. A number of initiatives target specific groups such as pregnant women or refugee girls. The report ends with a set of practical policy recommendations to guide policy-making in this area.


Executive Summary

An increasing number of refugees worldwide are women and children. In many cases, they are forced to leave their homes due to armed conflicts, insecurity or generalised violence. For women and girls, their migration experience is shaped by particular features, the roots of which lie in the gendered forms of violence they may face throughout their journey. Some may leave their country of origin because of experiences of gender-based violence or in fear of such violence, while others may seek to escape the threat of female genital mutilation or forced marriage. Without regular pathways to reach a country where they can seek international protection, women often have to resort to dangerous routes. During their journey, they are exposed to sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, psychological violence, trafficking, early and forced marriage, transactional sex and domestic violence. When they reach their destination, many women and young girls still face risks due to limited access to support services, a lack of effective procedures to identify survivors of gender-based violence and inadequate reception conditions in accommodation facilities.
What can be done to better protect women refugees and asylum-seekers? What practical steps can be taken to prevent violence? This report suggests positive actions that policy-makers and civil society organisations can take to ensure that refugee women and girls arriving in the EU are safe from violence. This collection of good practices contains more than 30 inspiring initiatives from 13 countries which are effective, practical, and can be easily replicated and adapted. It is intended as a resource for governments, local, regional and national authorities, policy-makers and civil society organisations working with refugee women and girls.

Media contact

Alexandra Schiffmann
Media and Communications
Telephone: +49 40 307 09 14 19

Mobile: +49 1573 8640 577

The World Future Council

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its up to 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. In close cooperation with civil society actors, parliamentarians, governments, business and international organizations the World Future Council identifies “best policies” around the globe. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany.

filia.die frauenstiftung

As a foundation, filia’s mission is to make funds available and to transform them into activities by women and girls, for women and girls. filia supports innovative, inspiring and effective initiatives that promote the self-empowerment and self-organisation of all women and girls, in Germany and worldwide. filia has been a member of Prospera, the International Network of Women’s Funds, since its formation. The members of this global hub of women’s funds mobilise $64.2 million annually to realise women’s rights. Linking women’s groups and social stakeholders, women’s funds are key agents of change. For many self-organised innovative initiatives, women’s funds are the first and most important partners – this is also the case for refugee women and girls. Find out more at:

UN Women National Commitee Germany

The UN Women National Committee in Germany is an independent public-benefit organisation that supports the work of UN Women at national level. It promotes women’s empowerment and gender equality throughout Germany. UN Women National Committee Germany collaborates with policy-makers, parliamentarians, civil society organisations and corporate partners in its efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. In particular, the German National Committee ensures that the German Government complies with its international obligations related to the human rights of women and actively brings gender equality to the public agenda. Find out more at: