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 DV and SA that women need and want after arriving to the U.S. These knowledge gaps include questions such as: how and from whom do women request help; what happens when women seek help; what factors influence how women access services and support; and how do services account for the experiences with DV and SA of refugee and immigrant women? 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 situated within the refugee resettlement and DV/SA service sectors in the U.S., as well as policy makers, donors, and other stakeholders.
Increasing Access to Care and Healing for GBV Survivors: Innovative Approaches to GBV Case Management in Emergency Environments
Research Partners: Courtney Welton-Mitchell and Leah James (affiliated with University of Colorado, Boulder)
Funding Sources: ECHO and BPRM
Mobile and remote technology-based programming may be able to address key gaps in service delivery for gender based violence in emergencies but little is known about the feasibility and acceptability of these methods. Mixed-methods data from individual interviews and focus group discussions in Iraq, Burundi, and Myanmar will be analyzed and incorporated into a research report and program guidance to be released during the summer of 2018. The guidance aims to support donors and GBV practitioners to effectively resource and design quality mobile and remote technology- based programming for GBV Service Delivery.
Assessing the Feasibility and Effectiveness of COMPASS Programming to Prevent Violence Against Adolescent Girls in Pakistan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo
Significant gaps persist in the evidence base on the most effective interventions to prevent violence against adolescent girls aged 10-19 years in humanitarian crises. COMPASS (Creating Opportunities through Mentorship, Parent involvement, and Safe Spaces) programming provides opportunities for girls to gain life skills and build assets to protect against and respond to GBV through mentorship, learning and peer interaction in safe spaces and is combined with capacity-building activities to improve the ability of service providers and caregivers to address the specific needs of young girls. The feasibility, acceptability, and impact of these activities on reducing violence experienced by young girls were assessed in Pakistan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Findings collectively contribute to understanding how to prevent GBV against adolescent girls in humanitarian contexts.
Research Brief (DRC)
Research Brief (Ethiopia)
Research Brief (Pakistan)
COMPASS Global Report
COMPASS Global Report – Executive Summary
COMPASS program: Multi-country study protocol to protect girls from violence in humanitarian settings*
Implementation of Audio-computer assisted self-interview (ACASI) among adolescent girls in humanitarian settings: feasibility, acceptability and lessons learned*
The effect of gender norms on the association between violence and hope among girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo*
Caregiver parenting and gender attitudes: associations with violence against girls in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo*
How narratives of fear shape girls’ participation in community life in two conflict-affected populations
Disclosure bias for group versus individual reporting of violence among conflict-affected adolescent girls in DRC and Ethiopia*
Prevalence and associated risk factors of violence against conflict-affected female adolescents: a multi-country, cross-sectional study*
Evaluating the Impact of a Girls’ Empowerment Program in Liberia
Research Partners: World Bank, Population Council, and IPA
Funding Source: NoVo Foundation
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. The IRC implemented the intervention in both Liberia and Ethiopia and ran an impact evaluation in Liberia. This randomized evaluation aimed to assess the impact of Girl Empower alone and of Girl Empower plus a conditional (on participating in GE) cash transfer compared to no intervention on sexual exploitation among girls age 13-14 years.
Intersections of Violence Against Women and Girls With State-Building and Peace-Building: Lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan
Research Partners: Global Women’s Institute (GWI) at George Washington University and CARE International UK
Funding Source: U.K. Department for International Development
There has been increased recognition by the international community in recent years that addressing women’s rights is integral to the ways that post-conflict transition is advanced, and crucial to its overall success. But despite the considerable attention given to this issue, state-building and peace-building (SBPB) processes routinely ignore issues of gender equality and VAWG. This study, conducted as part of the What Works to Prevent VAWG in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises programme funded by the UK government, focused on answering two overarching questions: how have programmes 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. Through this research and taking Sierra Leone, Nepal and South Sudan as case studies, the report contributes a new set of evidence and analysis of the intersections between VAWG and SBPB to inform future conflict and post-conflict SBPB and ensure they are more effective at addressing VAWG.
Additionally, this analytical framework brief provides a practical tool that can be used by policy makers as a guide to designing fair, inclusive, and sustainable state-building and peace-building processes that include meaningful engagement with the issue of violence and women and girls.
Cash Transfers in Raqqa Governorate, Syria: Changes Over Time in Women’s Experiences of Violence & Wellbeing
Funding Source: U.K. Department for International Development
The use of cash has been exponentially increasing in recent years as a mechanism to help households meet their basic needs in emergencies. Yet, evidence from more stable contexts that cash also has the potential to influence household dynamics and (mostly positively) impact women’s experiences of violence in the home, but little is known about this relationship in more insecure settings. This study, part of DFID’s What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research 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. The study was conducted between March-August 2018 in Raqqa Governorate, Syria, which was selected as it mirrored an acute emergency given recent influxes of internally displaced persons fleeing airstrikes in Raqqa City and the withdrawal of ISIS occupation which offered renewed access to humanitarian organizations. The study was conducted in close partnership with our Violence Prevention & Response, Women’s Protection & Empowerment and Economic Recovery & Development cash teams.
Violence, Uncertainty and Resilience among Refugee Women and Community Workers: An evaluation of gender-based violence case management services in the Dadaab refugee camps
Research Partners: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), African Population and Health Resource Center (APHRC), CARE International
Funding Source: U.K. Department for International Development
In the Dadaab refugee camps in north-eastern Kenya, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and CARE International (CARE) have implemented programmes that aim to both respond to and prevent GBV. A cornerstone of this work has been to train refugees, known as refugee community workers, to deliver aspects of GBV prevention and response work in order to develop a broader implementation of traditional GBV outreach, community mobilisation, and case management. Between 2014 and 2017, research co-led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), in collaboration with IRC and CARE, was conducted to assess this model and better understand its feasibility, acceptability, and influence among female survivors of GBV accessing care. This report presents the findings of this research. This research is part of the UK Government’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) What Works to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls research programme.
Breaking the Barrier; Meeting Sex Worker Needs in Humanitarian and Low-Resource Settings
January 2017 – October 2017
The IRC has implemented the Peer Outreach model in Turkana County, Kenya to ensure female sex-worker (FSW) have safe and confidential access to comprehensive protection, HIV and reproductive health services. To address the gap in evidence in meeting the needs of FSW in humanitarian and low resource settings, the IRC is conducting a routine project evaluation of the Peer Outreach model. Introduced in 2011, the model trained selected peer FSW leaders to be equipped to address risk taking behavior, continued condom access/use, peer support and referring colleagues to care. The FSW project is implemented through an establishment of a “wellness center” within the Lodwar hospital and Kakuma General Hospital in Turkana County. 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. The evaluations were conducted in Lodwar community and Kakuma refugee camp utilizing two methodological approaches for qualitative data: individual in-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions. Pre-existing de-identified data was used to inform the quantitative aspect of the study. Read the research briefs here:
Safety planning for technology: displaced women and girls’ interactions with information and communication technology in Lebanon and harm reduction considerations for humanitarian settings
The appropriate use of mobile technology for service provision, information dissemination, empowerment activities, and data collection in humanitarian settings can have several benefits on both the micro and macro levels for women and girls. For service providers, technology can extend reach and expand access opportunities. 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. The use of technology in humanitarian settings has a gendered imbalance. For women and girls, access and usage are negatively influenced by socioeconomic and cultural barriers. This includes both individual and ecosystem factors including prohibitive cost of devices, attitudes toward women and girls’ use of phones and the Internet, issues of security and harassment, and technical literacy and confidence. Though the current humanitarian environment beckons further exploitation of mobile technology for the benefit of women and girls, caution is needed. With an estimated 35% of women worldwide experiencing physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives, safety is a crucial component to consider in how women and girls can utilize information and communications technology and how humanitarian service providers should be responsible for their access to technology. Service providers need to plan for safety first. Any consideration of information and communications technology introduction should include an understanding of the globally common and locally unique barriers to access and usage, necessary service precautions before implementation, and key opportunities to increase safety measures.
COMPASS Learning Report: “A Safe Place to Shine: Creating Opportunities and Raising Voices of Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings”
Research Partners: Columbia University
Funding Source: U.K. Department for International Development
To respond to the specific needs of adolescent girls in humanitarian settings and to address the gap in evidence of what works for adolescent girls, the IRC partnered with Columbia University over a three year period (2014–2017) to develop, implement and evaluate the Creating Opportunities through Mentoring, Parental Involvement and Safe Spaces (COMPASS) programme. COMPASS included strategies such as: safe space programming including life skills training and asset building; mentoring activities with the support of older adolescent girls; and engagement with service providers and caregivers to better prioritise and meet the needs of adolescent girls. The programme was implemented with refugees living in camps on the Sudan/Ethiopia border, conflict-affected communities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and displaced populations in north-west Pakistan.
Executive Summary (French)
Country Report: Ethiopia
Country Report: Democratic Republic of Congo
Country Report: Pakistan
Research Brief: Ethiopia
Research Brief: Democratic Republic of Congo
Research Brief: Pakistan
No Safe Place: A Lifetime of Violence for Conflict-Affected Women and Girls in South Sudan
Research Partners: Global Women’s Institute of the George Washington University, CARE International UK, Forcier Consulting
Funding Source: U.K. Department for International Development
In 2014, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Global Women’s Institute (GWI) at the George Washington University, and CARE International UK (CIUK) began work on the design and implementation of a comprehensive population-based study to understand the prevalence, forms, drivers, and trends of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in South Sudan. The study findings, launched in November 2017, aim to fill substantial gaps in understanding the intersections of VAWG and conflict in South Sudan. Evidence from this groundbreaking research will inform policy and programs for donors, governments, local and international NGOs, and the wider international community to better respond to and prevent VAWG in conflict and humanitarian settings. This research is part of the UK Government’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research program.
Secondary analysis of this data set focusing on the experiences of violence against adolescent girls was supported by the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence consortium. Please see the documents below.
What works to prevent violence against women and girls in conflict and humanitarian crisis: Synthesis Brief
Over the last five years, the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) programme has been conducting research to expand the international community’s knowledge around VAWG and the effectiveness of programmes that seek to prevent and respond to this violence. This new brief synthesises the key results of What Works studies as well as other findings from contemporaneous research efforts published since 2015. It aims to provide an up-to-date resource 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.
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
At the time Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013, the primary guidance for preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies was the 2005 Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings. This study, as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) programme funded by the UK Department for International Development programme, 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 VAWG were carried out in the early phase of the emergency response and investigating the effectiveness of deploying GBV experts to assist VAWG mainstreaming in the humanitarian response.
Research to Action Toolkit: VAWG in Conflict and Humanitarian Settings
Through the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) programme funded by the UK Department for International Development programme, the Global Women’s Institute (GWI), the International Rescue Committee, and other partners have focused on developing new evidence to address gaps in understanding of VAWG during conflict and humanitarian crises, including implementing a landmark population-based study on the prevalence, forms and drivers of VAWG in conflict-affected South Sudan. In order to bridge the gap between research and action, GWI has developed this toolkit to support non-academic stakeholders to understand and interpret the data gathered through population-based research on VAWG and to create a process for moving from evidence to implementing action. The Research to Action tool provides a step-by-step process for practitioners and policymakers to better understand and utilize data generated by VAWG research activities.
Gender-Based Violence Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation with Refugee and Conflict-Affected Populations: A Manual and Toolkit for Researchers and Practitioners
Developed by the Global Women’s Institute with support from the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the UK Department for International Development (as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research programme), this manual aims to support researchers and members of the humanitarian community in conducting ethical and technically sound research, monitoring and/or evaluation on gender-based violence within refugee and conflict-affected populations.
Violence Against Adolescent Girls: Trends and lessons for East Africa
This study examines the unique experience of adolescent girls by exploring the types of gender-based violence and drivers of violence within the context of South Sudan, where women and girls experience high levels of gender inequality and subordination. Data was collected under the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research programme, funded by the UK Department for International Development, and secondary analysis of this data set focusing on the experiences of violence against adolescent girls was supported by the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence consortium. Key findings can inform policymakers and donors as they support programs that will effectively prevent and respond to violence against adolescent girls in conflict and humanitarian settings.
Reaching Refugee Survivors of Gender-Based Violence: Evaluation of a Mobile Approach to Service Delivery in Lebanon
Research Partner: International Center for Research on Women
Funding Source: U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the NoVo Foundation, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
In October 2014, the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s Women’s Protection and Empowerment Lebanon program began implementing an innovative mobile approach to gender-based violence response and mitigation service delivery in Akkar district. This mobile approach aims to reach non-camp based Syrian refugee women living within Lebanese communities with GBV case management and psychosocial support (PSS) services. The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) collaborated with IRC to assess this approach 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, including by: broadening social networks and building social cohesion, increasing access to social and emotional support, improving communication skills and coping mechanisms, breaking down barriers between Syrian and Lebanese communities, increasing knowledge of safety-promoting strategies, and helping women and girls regain a sense of self.
Improving Cash-Based Interventions Multipurpose Cash Grants and Protection: Integrating Cash Transfers into Gender Based Violence Programs in Jordan: Benefits, Risks and Challenges
Learning Partners: This Research is part of the interagency project led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on behalf of its partners: the Cash Learning Partnership, Danish Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, Oxfam, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Women’s Refugee Commission, World Food Programme, and World Vision International. Lynn Yoshikawa, independent consultant authored the research undertaken with the International Rescue Committee.
Funding Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department’s Enhanced Response Capacity funding (2014-2015)
With limited global practice and guidance on programming cash transfers to enhance protection in an emergency context, in 2013, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) started cash transfer programming as an integral part of its urban emergency response Women’s Protection and Empowerment (WPE) program in Jordan. Using cash transfers as a tool to build women’s resilience towards specific types of gender based violence identified as heightened risks for urban refugee women and girls in correlation to Syrian refugees lack of access to income generation opportunities and prohibitive costs associated with living in non- camp settings, the program seeks to support them in meeting their basic needs and providing targeted GBV services.
Findings from the research indicate that resilience to GBV is supported by receiving both cash transfers (CT) and WPE services, rather than cash alone and that receiving cash and attending the Gender Discussion Groups (GDGs) can result in a decrease of IPV and DV. Beneficiaries report that the skills acquired through participating in these psychosocial services enables them to cope positively with changing dynamics among family members. Women feel stronger, confident, respected and able to negotiate. Men and women feel listened to and report fewer arguments and conflicts over money leading to a reduction of violence in the home. Read the Report and all the findings in full HERE.
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.
2014 – 2015
Research Partner: Karin Wachter, Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA), The University of Texas at Austin
Funding Source: Open Square Charitable Gift Fund, NoVo Foundation
The IRC’s Bridge to Safety project integrates protocols for screening and responding to domestic violence and sexual assault into IRC refugee resettlement service delivery in the U.S. The Bridge to Safety project was piloted from April 2014 – April 2015 in three IRC US Programs offices: Baltimore, Dallas, and Seattle. Findings from the evaluation indicate that integrating domestic violence and sexual assault screening into refugee resettlement shows promise in communicating that IRC is a safe space for women to discuss their experiences and concerns. Implementation of the Bridge to Safety pilot project highlights the extent to which violence against women is an issue of importance to both resettled refugee women and the staff who serve them, and reiterates the critical need to make violence against women a priority in U.S. resettlement policy and practice.
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: Primary Health Facilities in Humanitarian Settings. Findings from implementation among refugees in Dadaab, Kenya
Academic partners: Alexander Vu and Andrea Wirtz, Johns Hopkins University
Funding Source: U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
Screening for GBV has become a topic of debate in humanitarian programming over the past few years as research has largely been limited to studies in developed countries. To address this, IRC has worked with Johns Hopkins University since 2011 on the piloting, implementation and evaluation of the ASIST-GBV, a GBV screening tool developed by JHU specifically for use in humanitarian settings. Findings from the evaluation 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. On September 9, 2015, IRC and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health presented the findings of this research at an event in Washington, DC. If you missed it, you may view the video archive of the event below.
“I see that it is possible”: Building capacity for disability inclusion in gender-based violence programming in humanitarian settings.
Partner: Women’s Refugee Commission
Funding source: Australian Aid Program and Open Society Foundations
In response to concerns raised by the field about the exclusion of women and girls with disabilities in programs and services, the WRC and IRC conducted a project, in Burundi, Ethiopia, Jordan and the Northern Caucasus in the Russian Federation, to identify barriers to access, and to pilot and evaluate strategies for promoting disability inclusion in gender-based violence (GBV) programs. The learning coming from this project shows that designing solutions to promote disability inclusion in GBV programs is possible. It also produced findings and recommendations as well as tools that can be used by practitioners working in humanitarian settings. Project Brief – EN, Project Brief – AR, Project Brief – FR, Full Report – EN, Full Report – AR, Full Report – FR.
Private Violence, Public Concern: Understanding intimate partner violence in emergencies based on research in South Sudan, Kenya and Iraq
Academic partners: Dr. Rebecca Horn, independent researchers; Dr. Eve Puffer and Elsa Friis, Duke University; Karin Wachter, University of Texas — Austin
Funding source: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
The IRC conducted a qualitative study with women survivors, women and men community members and humanitarian organization representatives in Ajuong Thok settlement, South Sudan, Dadaab camp, Kenya and Domiz camp, Iraq to better understand intimate partner violence during displacement. 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. Read more here: Practice Brief – EN, Practice Brief – AR, Practice Brief – FR
Gender-Based Violence among Urban IDPs in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
Academic partners: Jhumka Gupta and Kathryn Falb, Yale University
Funding source: U.S. Institute of Peace
Despite widespread concern regarding gender-based violence (GBV) against women in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire as a threat to post-conflict stability and development, systematic data on GBV and humanitarian programmatic efforts to protect and empower women in conflict-affected urban settings are lacking. Through analysis of survey data and qualitative research, the investigative team will advance current understanding of GBV experiences and will assess the feasibility and acceptability of socio-economic programs aimed to prevent GBV and improve economic well-being among urban Ivorian women. Such work will help guide empirically-informed programs to address GBV in urban settings. Read more here: Research Brief
Syrian Response Study to understand the driver and consequences of violence in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq
Displacement resulting from the Syrian crisis is one of the largest in recent history, yet little is known about the potential violence and exploitation risks faced by women and girls before, during, and after they flee the conflict in Syria. To address this gap, IRC has undertaken qualitative research to how the crisis and displacement has impacted the lives of Syrian women and adolescent girls living in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, with a particular focus on protection issues. Read more here: Full Report Full Report – AR
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
2013 – 2014
Funding source: Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
The IRC focuses on prevention as a key component of comprehensive GBV programming in humanitarian contexts. This includes a focus on risk reduction in acute emergencies where women and girls are at increased risk of violence. It is during this time that inadequate facilitates and limited resources heighten women and girls expose to multiple forms of GBV. However, information on how to implement and measure the impact of risk reduction interventions in these contexts is limited. This is why IRC in conjunction with CDC with support from OFDA undertook a one year evaluation to determine 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. Read more here: Research Brief
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
Academic partner: Rebecca Horn, Institute of International Health and Development and Eve S Puffer, Duke University
Funding source: NoVo Foundation
Women perceive the causes of IPV to be linked with other difficulties faced by women in these settings, including their financial dependence on men, traditional gender expectations and social changes that took place during and after the wars in those countries. According to respondents, the wars increased the use of violence by some men, as violence became for them a normal way of responding to frustrations and challenges. However, the 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. Read more here: Full Article
Evaluating the Feasibility of a Mental Health Intervention for Child Survivors of Sexual Violence and Other Trauma in Thailand and Ethiopia
2010 – 2013
Academic partner: Laura Murray and Paul Bolton, Johns Hopkins University
Funding source: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supplemental funding needed
Women and children face significantly increased risks of sexual violence during conflict and natural disaster. The IRC’s experience has shown that programs are typically designed to meet the specific needs of adult women, yet girls under the age of 18 often make up the majority of clients reporting to sexual assault and referral centers. GBV emergency responders consistently request support to better serve the needs of this particularly vulnerable population of clients; therefore, the IRC aims to introduce a new evidence-based program model that will increase the capacity of emergency responders to meet child survivors’ needs more rapidly and appropriately when emergencies strike. The evaluation 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. Results are anticipated in 2014. Read more here: Research Brief
Comparing Mental Health and Socio-Economic Programming for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
2010 – 2013
Academic partners: Judith Bass and Paul Bolton, Johns Hopkins University
Funding sources: World Bank, USAID
This study aims to identify low-cost, scalable interventions that demonstrably improve the mental, social, physical, and economic functioning of survivors of sexual violence living in Eastern DRC. While social and economic development in conflict affected areas like eastern DRC relies on populations who are ready and able to work, the psychological effects of conflict and sexual violence may mean that survivors living in these low-resource areas are less able to engage in economic opportunities even when they are available. Currently, little data exists on which strategies are most effective at helping survivors increase their ability to function. This project investigates the impact of a mental health intervention (interpersonal psychotherapy, or IPT) and a socio-economic program (Village Savings and Loan Associations) on specific domains of social, physical, and economic functioning, and on the reduction of mental health problems associated with experiencing sexual violence, including depression, anxiety, and feelings of stigma and shame. Results from the CPT component are currently available, while the results of the VSLA component are planned for 2014. Read more here: Full Article
Evaluating the Impact of an Economic and Empowerment Intervention on the Prevention of Partner Violence in Côte d’Ivoire
2010 – 2013
Academic partner: Jhumka Gupta, Yale University
Funding source: World Bank
Building on a study conducted in Burundi (see above), this project 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. The baseline was completed in 2010, and a survey measuring the impacts of the 2010-2011 political conflict on participants in the savings groups was completed in 2011. Read more here: Research Brief Full Article
Evaluating the Impact of Men’s Groups on Women’s Empowerment and Partner Violence in Côte d’Ivoire
2010 – 2012
Academic partners: Charlotte Watts, Cathy Zimmerman, and Mazeda Hossain, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Funding source: Novo Foundation
Recent research has shown that men who have experienced violence are more likely to commit violence against their partners. Practitioners recognize that engaging men is crucial to stopping violence against women and to influencing norms and attitudes about gender roles, yet there is little evidence supporting how to best engage men. Further, programs that engage men could potentially do harm by reinforcing existing male power structures or inadvertently emphasizing harmful social norms. Based on current best practices, the IRC has developed a curriculum for involving men in communities with the aim of changing harmful social norms and decreasing violence against women. The curriculum is being piloted and evaluated in conflict-affected communities Côte d’Ivoire. Read more here: Research Brief Full Article
Evaluating the impact of clinical training on quality and comprehensive care for survivors of sexual violence
Funding: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
The IRC provides clinical care to survivors of sexual assault among populations affected by conflict or natural disaster in 22 countries. Training health care workers has been recognized as a key component of improving the delivery of competent and compassionate clinical care for sexual assault survivors, yet most currently available training tools are not for use in resource-poor medical settings. The IRC developed the Clinical Care for Sexual Assault Survivors (CCSAS) multimedia training tool in 2008 using actors, case studies and interviews that closely reflect the resource-poor settings where the IRC works. The training tool includes pre- and post-tests to evaluate short-term gains in knowledge after the training, but there has been no systematic review of the tool’s longer-term impact on clinical competency, compassion and care delivery at health facilities. This evaluation examined sustained facility-wide changes in staff competency, compassion, and care delivery three months following CCSAS training in Kenya and Ethiopia in 2010-2011 and in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Jordan in 2011-2012. Read more here: Full Article