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Sexual Violence Research InitiativeThemes

SVRI Forum 2011 Theme:

“Moving the agenda forward”

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SVRI Forum 2011 Subthemes
Three sub-themes have been identified as priority for strengthening our responses to sexual violence globally at the SVRI Forum 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa. These themes will drive Forum 2011 and are as follows:

Primary Prevention
Prevention of sexual violence is ultimately the most important goal in the field of sexual violence. A primary prevention approach helps to promote social change, respect, gender equality and works to prevent perpetration through addressing power imbalances, child sexual abuse, and other driving factors behind sexual violence. A central task is to empower women and to change dominant constructions of masculinity/femininity into ones which are gender equitable and non-violent. More robust evidence is needed on what works and more effort is necessary to scale up effective interventions. The SVRI Forum 2011 would like to encourage work and presentations on emerging areas of research, including parenting interventions to reduce exposure to trauma in childhood, reducing alcohol abuse, structural interventions to address gender inequality and empower women, and community-based interventions for preventing sexual violence. In line with this, priorities in the area of primary prevention for SVRI Forum 2011 include:

  • Strategies/interventions for facilitating early disclosure of child sexual abuse
  • How to scale up effective interventions whose evidence base comes primarily from developed country settings;
  • Research on: parenting, emotional literacy, structural interventions to reduce exposure to trauma during childhood, interventions to prevent future violence amongst children who have been exposed to violence;
  • Research on gender equality interventions at all levels (e.g. social policies on paternity/maternity leave, childcare arrangements; school based interventions that promote gender equality, etc.);
  • Evaluation of work with men/boys and scaling up of programmes;
  • Comprehensive sexuality education;
  • Media stereotypes and early sexualisation of young girls;
  • Alcohol abuse;
  • Community Based Interventions.

Responding to Sexual Violence: Models of Care
Good quality holistic care for victims can play a critical role in both recovery and supporting the transition from victim to survivor. Many survivors/victims of sexual violence receive assistance, care and support from family and friends and often a range of other agencies, including non-governmental organisations, social services, health workers, the police and legal systems. Globally, responses are very diverse, with differences influenced by the level of resources, status of women, and a number of other factors. In many settings, what services are being provided, by whom, and what works at what level is still unknown. Key areas for SVRI Forum 2011 include:

  • Research on the barriers to access and use of services and on how to deliver good quality services for women, men and children, in different settings;
  • Research on the different types of mental health services that are feasible in resource poor settings;
  • Research on how to assess the quality of violence-related services from women’s perspectives;
  • Strategies to effectively address both intimate partner violence and sexual violence by non-partners in a comprehensive and sustainable manner;
  • Children services;
  • How to integrate HIV and violence services;
  • Integration of violence with sexual and reproductive health services (e.g. Family planning, emergency contraception, abortion services).

Conflict, Post-Conflict and Crisis
Sexual violence is increasingly used in war time to brutalize and humiliate civilians, as a tactic of war and political power and in campaigns of ethnic cleansing. Women and girls who have experienced sexual violence have been psychologically and physically injured, and in the aftermath often find themselves at the margins of society. The UN Security Council identifies rape as a threat to global security. The short and long-term health effects of sexual violence in war are difficult to estimate. The violence and the inequalities that women face in crises do not exist in a vacuum but are the direct results and reflections of the violence, discrimination and marginalization that women face in times of relative peace. There are, however, particular aspects relevant to sexual violence in conflict, situations of post-conflict and crisis. The SVRI Forum 2011 would like to explore and understand the context of sexual violence in different conflicts in a more nuanced way, and would like to encourage more focused research on:

  • Engaging communities in prevention and response, particularly addressing stigma, fear and rejection;
  • Role of economic empowerment in women’s recovery / prevention;
  • Integration of sexual assault services in sexual and reproductive health services including emergency contraception, safe abortion services, mental health care and family planning;
  • Different forms and motivations of sexual violence in the context of conflict and crisis;
  • Men and boys as victims of violence;
  • Different forms and motivations of sexual violence in the context of conflict and crisis;
  • How to respond to and address consequences for women who become pregnant as a result of conflict-related rape, and the children born of rape