What are forms of Gender-based Violence (GBV)?
Gender-based violence can include sexual, physical, mental and economic harm inflicted in public or in private. It also includes threats of violence, coercion and manipulation. This can take many forms such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation and so-called ‘honour crimes’.
The consequences of gender-based violence are devastating and can have life-long repercussions for survivors. It can even lead to death.
What is UNHCR doing to end Gender-based Violence?
Gender-based violence programming (i.e. prevention and response) and risk mitigation across all sectors is lifesaving and an institutional priority for us. We work together with partners, governments and communities to address GBV and to implement quality programming to prevent, mitigate and respond.
Our primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees and other people who were forced to flee. We support States to uphold their responsibility to ensure that people of concern are protected against GBV.
Across all our operations, we prioritize two mutually reinforcing objectives to address GBV:
- Reducing the risk of GBV for all persons of concern
- Ensuring all survivors of GBV have adequate and timely access to quality services that meet their needs
GBV disproportionately affects women and girls, and in situations of displacement, their risk of exposure to GBV increases. We are committed to continuously strengthening coordination and programming to protect women and girls from GBV. We advocate for adequate resources to increase the implementation of quality specialized programmes for women and girls.
We also work with male survivors of sexual violence and survivors with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI) through specialized programming to respond to their specific needs.
UNHCR Policies and strategies
- UNHCR Policy on the Prevention of, Risk Mitigation, and Response to Gender-based Violence, 2020 (PDF) (Available in Arabic, French and Spanish)
- UNHCR Gender Equality Toolkit, 2020 (PDF)
- Tackling Sexual Abuse and Abuse and Sexual Harassment, 2020 – 2022 Strategy and Action Plan (PDF)
- Policy on UNHCR's Engagement in Situations of Internal Displacement, 2019 (PDF)
- UNHCR Policy on Age, Gender and Diversity, 2018-2019
Latest publications (PDF)
- Protecting Forcibly Displaced Women and Girls during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021
- Protecting Forcibly Displaced Women and Girls during the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020
- Putting People First – UNHCR Age, Gender and Diversity Accountability Report 2018 - 2019
- Cash assistance and the prevention, mitigation and response to sexual and gender-based violence, 2019
- Promising practices: prevention, risk mitigation and response with practices from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Iraq, 2019
- Safe from the Start (SftS): Reducing risks of GBV in emergencies
- Global Focus: 2019 Global Strategic Priorities Progress Report (PDF), Page 25 on SGBV
- UNHCR Gender Equality Toolkit
- UNHCR's Safeguarding Individuals webpage on women
- UNHCR's webpage on our fight against sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment
- Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence in Conflict (United Nations website)
Global commitments (external links)
- The Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies
- The GBV Accountability Framework
Key guidance (external links)
- The Inter-Agency Minimum Standards for Gender-based Violence in Emergencies Programming, 2019
- GBV AoR Handbook for Coordinating GBV in Emergencies, 2019
- Women and Girls Safe Spaces: A Toolkit for Advancing Women's and Girls' Empowerment in Humanitarian Settings, IRC & IMC, 2019
- Inter-Agency GBV Case Management Guidelines, 2017
- IASC Guidelines for Integrating GBV Interventions in Humanitarian Action, 2015
- IASC Pocket Guide – How to support survivors of GBV when a GBV actor is not available in your area
- IASC Cash and Voucher Assistance and GBV Compendium: A Practical Guidance for Humanitarian Practitioners