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Violence Against Women and Children

Violence Against Women and Children
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Preventing gender-based and sexual abuse

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) represents any and all abuse directed against a person on the basis of gender or sex. It includes domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, intimidation at work and school, human trafficking and forced prostitution. While anyone at any age can be a target, women and girls are the main victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Preventing this type of violence is a high priority of UNHCR. In 2003, the agency issued the policy statement, “Guidelines on Prevention and Response to Sexual and Gender-based Violence,” that has been implemented in UNHCR operations around the world. Furthermore, the agency has recommended these guidelines to other stakeholders involved in the protection and assistance of asylum-seekers and refugees.

UNHCR’s battle against sexual and gender-based violence falls within the framework of its gender-equality and mainstreaming strategy. When preparing country programmes, staff must ensure that all UNHCR operations have put in place standard operating procedures to prevent and respond to SGBV. 

UNHCR leads a worldwide campaign to establish safeguards against such violence in all places where refugees and asylum-seekers are sheltered. Most Central European countries have adopted UNHCR's standard operating procedures to prevent and respond to such abuses within their communities of refugees and asylum-seekers.

The agency is also trying to improve the data collection and analysis of cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

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