Resources for addressing gender-based violence against women and girls in humanitarian settings.

WPE Research

This page provides research reports, briefs and learning from evidence generated through WPE programming and with the support of IRC’s research team and academic partners across the world.

What works to prevent violence against women and girls in conflict and humanitarian crisis: Synthesis Brief

This brief synthesizes the key results of five years of What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research studies. It provides an update for practitioners, policymakers and researchers on the state of evidence on VAWG in conflict and humanitarian settings and makes recommendations for VAWG policy, programming, and future research priorities.

No Safe Place: A Lifetime of Violence for Conflict-Affected Women and Girls in South Sudan

This study, part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research program, address the substantial gaps in understanding the intersections of violence against women and girls and conflict in South Sudan. The report outlines barriers to women and girls’ access to GBV response services and surfaces recommendations for policy makers and practitioners in South Sudan.

Intersections of Violence Against Women and Girls With State-Building and Peace-Building: Lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan

THIS STUDY, part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls program, focused on answering two overarching questions: how have programs and policies to prevent and respond to VAWG been integrated and addressed within post-conflict state-building policy and programming; and how is VAWG related to efforts to achieve peace and stability in conflict-affected countries.

  • FULL REPORT and POLICY BRIEF in English.
  • Additionally, this analytical framework BRIEF provides a practical tool that can be used by policy makers.

Responding to Typhoon Haiyan: women and girls left behind. A study on the prevention and mitigation of violence against women and girls in the emergency response

This study, as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls program used the 2005 IASC GBV Guidelines as a tool to understand how the humanitarian sector met the needs of women and girls in the Philippines; specifically looking at how prevention and mitigation of GBV were carried out in the early phase of the emergency response.

Cash Transfers in Raqqa Governorate, Syria: Changes Over Time in Women’s Experiences of Violence & Wellbeing

This study, part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls program, sought to explore the experiences of women when a typical humanitarian three-month unconditional cash transfer was given to a household in an acute emergency.

Violence, Uncertainty and Resilience among Refugee Women and Community Workers: An evaluation of gender-based violence case management services in the Dadaab refugee camps

This study, as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls program, presents findings from research which assessed a refugee community worker model in Dadaab refugee settlements in Kenya, to better understand its feasibility, acceptability, and influence among female survivors of GBV accessing care.

Safety planning for technology: displaced women and girls’ interactions with information and communication technology in Lebanon and harm reduction considerations for humanitarian settings

This study, part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research program, explored how the use of mobile technology for service provision, information dissemination, empowerment activities, and data collection in humanitarian settings can have several benefits for women and girls. However, these advantages need to be reconciled with two critical challenges: (1) the unique barriers for women and girls to access and utilize technology and (2) the risks that technology might increase harm or gender-based violence, even if unintentionally.

Evaluating the Impact of a Girls’ Empowerment Program in Liberia

Girl Empower is an innovative program designed to equip girls with the skills and experiences necessary to make healthy, strategic life choices and to stay safe from sexual exploitation and abuse. The Girl Empower program includes mentoring, asset building (life skills, financial literacy and savings) and caregiver discussion groups. This randomized evaluation aimed to assess the impact of Girl Empower alone and of Girl Empower plus a conditional cash transfer compared to no intervention on sexual exploitation among girls age 13-14 years.

Breaking the Barrier: Meeting Sex Worker Needs in Humanitarian and Low-Resource Settings

The IRC has implemented the Peer Outreach model in Turkana County, Kenya to ensure female sex-workers have safe and confidential access to comprehensive protection, HIV and reproductive health services. Through routine evaluation, IRC seeks to assess the acceptability and efficacy of targeted programming in increasing access to HIV and reproductive health services, case management and access to psychosocial support.

Reaching Refugee Survivors of Gender-Based Violence: Evaluation of a Mobile Approach to Service Delivery in Lebanon

This study assesses mobile GBV response service delivery to examine the extent to which it is able to (1) meet the safety and support needs of refugee women and girls and (2) meet international standards to guarantee safety of GBV survivors and quality of services. Findings from the evaluation indicate that the delivery of mobile services contributed to improved wellbeing of Syrian refugee women and girls in numerous ways.

Integrating Cash Transfers into Gender Based Violence Programs in Jordan: Benefits, Risks and Challenges

This study explores the how resilience to GBV is supported by receiving both cash transfers and GBV response services, rather than cash alone. The study found that receiving cash and attending the discussion groups with male partners can result in a decrease in intimate partner violence against women.

Bridging the Gaps: Addressing refugee and immigrant women’s experiences with domestic violence and sexual assault

Gaps in knowledge remain regarding the services and support related to domestic violence and sexual assault that women need and want after arriving to the U.S. This brief highlights results from a multi-methods study that sought to address some of these knowledge gaps. Key findings inform recommendations for practitioners and agencies in the U.S., as well as policy makers, donors, and other stakeholders.

Bridge to Safety: An evaluation of a pilot intervention to screen for and respond to domestic violence and sexual assault with refugee women in the U.S.

This study explores integrating domestic violence and sexual assault screening into refugee resettlement and finds that this approach shows promise in communicating that IRC is a safe space for women to discuss their experiences and concerns. The full evaluation report includes screening and response tools that can be used by refugee-serving agencies and domestic violence/sexual assault agencies.

Feasibility and Acceptability of Gender-Based Violence Screening in Primary Health Facilities in Humanitarian Settings.

Findings from this study in Dadaab Kenya, indicate that, with the appropriate measures taken and prerequisites met, GBV screening by health providers has the potential to 1) create a confidential environment where survivors can speak openly about their experiences with GBV, 2) ensure competent care and referrals based on individual needs and wishes of survivors, and 3) increase community awareness about GBV issues, thereby reducing stigma and improving attitudes.

“I see that it is possible”: Building capacity for disability inclusion in gender-based violence programming in humanitarian settings.

This study identifies barriers to access, and to pilot and evaluate strategies for promoting disability inclusion in gender-based violence (GBV) programs. This study outlines how designing solutions to promote disability inclusion in GBV programs is possible and outlines recommendations and tools that can be used by practitioners working in humanitarian settings.

Private Violence, Public Concern: Understanding intimate partner violence in emergencies based on research in South Sudan, Kenya and Iraq

The study examined key drivers of intimate partner violence, consequences of violence, women’s decision-making after an experience of violence, and entry points for improved programming. Based on this research, as well as women’s recommendations, the brief also includes recommendations for practitioners working in humanitarian settings.

Gender-Based Violence among Urban IDPs in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

This study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of socio-economic programs aimed to prevent GBV and improve economic well-being among urban Ivorian women.

Syrian Response Study to understand the driver and consequences of violence in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq

This study provides qualitative research findings on how the crisis and displacement in Syria has impacted the lives of Syrian women and adolescent girls living in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, with a particular focus on protection issues.

Lighting the way: The role of handheld solar lamps in improving women’s and girl’s perceptions of safety in two camps for internally displaced people in Haiti

This study determined the impact of a distribution of handheld solar lights on women and girl’s perceptions of their own safety in two IDP camps in Haiti.

Women’s perceptions of effects of war on intimate partner violence and gender roles in two post-conflict West African Countries: consequences and unexpected opportunities

This study explores the women’s perceptions of the causes of IPV and respondents reflections that war also resulted in women becoming economically active, which was said by some to have decreased IPV, as the pressure on men to provide for their families reduced. Economic independence, together with services provided by NGOs, also gave women the option of leaving a violent relationship.

Evaluating the Feasibility of a Mental Health Intervention for Child Survivors of Sexual Violence and Other Trauma in Thailand and Ethiopia

This study aimed to assess the feasibility and performance of an adapted mental health intervention in reducing psychological distress and increasing functioning of child survivors of sexual violence and other forms of trauma in refugee settings.

Comparing Mental Health and Socio-Economic Programming for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

This study aims to identify low-cost, scalable interventions that demonstrably improve the mental, social, physical, and economic functioning of women survivors of sexual violence living in Eastern DRC.

Evaluating the Impact of an Economic and Empowerment Intervention on the Prevention of Partner Violence in Côte d’Ivoire

This study evaluates whether participation in a savings group and a discussion group confronting gender norms leads to an increase in women’s individual agency and decision-making ability, and whether those increased capacities will in turn improve their economic independence and decrease intimate partner violence in their homes.

Evaluating the Impact of Men’s Groups on Women’s Empowerment and Partner Violence in Côte d’Ivoire

This study explored the impact of men’s groups on women’s empowerment and intimate partner violence in conflict-affected communities Côte d’Ivoire.

Evaluating the impact of clinical training on quality and comprehensive care for survivors of sexual violence

This evaluation examined sustained facility-wide changes in staff competency, compassion, and care delivery three months following Clinical Care for Sexual Assault Survivors training in Kenya, Ethiopia, DRC and Jordan.

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