What can be done to better protect women and children refugees?

Best practices to protect refugee women and children from violence

An increasing number of refugees worldwide are women and children. In many cases, they are being driven to leave their homes due to armed conflicts, insecurity or generalised violence. For women and girls, this includes gendered forms of violence: some flee to escape the threat of female genital mutilation or forced marriage, while others are victims of domestic or sexual violence. Without regular pathways to reach a country where they can seek international protection, women often have to resort to dangerous routes. Throughout 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. And once they reach their destination, many women and young girls face further protection risks due to limited access to support services, a lack of effective procedures to identify victims of gender-based violence and inadequate reception conditions in accommodation facilities.

Once they reach their destination, many women and young girls face further protection risks due to limited access to support services, a lack of effective procedures to identify victims 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? How can refugee women and girls be included in the process of finding solutions to these challenges?

In order to provide an answer to these questions, we have started a research project in cooperation with filia. die frauenstiftung and UN Women German Committee. Our study aims to identify the most innovative and inspiring initiatives which can be considered effective in protecting refugee women and girls from violence during all phases of the migration cycle, with the goal of promoting the exchange of best practices and opening up a space for dialogue and experience-sharing.

We are mapping initiatives that address different aspects related to ending violence against refugee women and girls at the local, national, regional and global level. Initiatives can be laws, regulations, action plans, projects, programmes, services or campaigns, implemented by international organisations, local, regional or national authorities, civil society organisations and NGOs, as well as grassroots and social movements. Special attention will be given to initiatives that have been designed and/or delivered in close collaboration with refugee women, with the aim of strengthening their self-empowerment and self-organising.

Special attention will be given to initiatives that have been designed and/or delivered in close collaboration with refugee women, with the aim of strengthening their self-empowerment and self-organising.

We aim to collect best practices examples that concern any form of violence (including physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence) during all phases of the migration cycle (i.e. violence in the country of origin; violence during the journey; and violence in destination countries). This mapping exercise will be followed by a comprehensive evaluation and assessment process by the project team in order to select a set of best practices that show a high degree of sustainability and effectiveness, and have a high potential for transferability to other municipalities, regions or countries. We will particularly highlight initiatives that pioneer change, show a high degree of innovation and focus on women’s empowerment.

The analysis of these initiatives for our upcoming report will provide important insights into the key elements of best practices to protect refugee women and girls from violence. Our goal is to develop practical policy recommendations to inspire policy-makers and civil society actors to take action to ensure that refugee women and girls are effectively protected.

Contact

For more information on the project, of if you would like to submit an initiative, please contact us at marta.sanchez@worldfuturecouncil.org.

Project partners

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