Sexual violence is a risk that all refugees face—women, girls, men, boys, and people with diverse gender identities like transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex individuals. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that perpetrators target women and girls, but also men and boys, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTQI). The Women’s Refugee Commission’s (WRC) sexual violence project undertook research in three diverse refugee settings to document the scope of the issue, find out what practices are in place, and document key actions for services providers. (1)
WRC’s research found a near total lack of services for male survivors from health care to psycho-social support. The organization also found the services for female survivors continue to be severely under-funded and far less available than needs indicate.
One barrier to service provision for male survivors was the lack of clear guidance on how to respond to their needs or set up programming that encouraged their disclosure. Service providers find themselves struggling to identify male survivors or care for those male or LGBTQ survivors who disclose while accessing their services.
The Women’s Refugee Commission developed this Guidance Note in response to the needs of service providers working to meet the needs of these survivors. The aim of the Guidance Note is to outline key actions and considerations for service provision per sector to support frontline workers to better address sexual violence against men, boys, and LGBTIQ+ persons. To address the massive gap in services for men and boys in humanitarian settings, the Guidance Note highlights the need to activate the multisectoral model that includes other sectors, like healthcare and protection to provide support to these survivors rather than overwhelm the already severely constrained GBV services available that are necessarily geared to the needs of women and girls.
On 23 September 2021, the Women’s Refugee Commission, GBV AOR Community of Practice, and the Sexual Violence Research Initiative hosted a moderated discussion to discuss how different humanitarian sectors can improve their approach and support male survivors.
- Welcome – Angelica Pino, SVRI
- Introduction to the Guidance Note – Sarah Martin, GBV Consultant
- Moderator: Dale Buscher, WRC
- Health: Meggy Verputten, MSF – OCA
- Livelihoods: Galo Quizanga- HIAS
- Child Protection: Carina Hickling – CASI and CP AOR
- Recommendations to strengthen multi-sectoral response - Sarah Martin
- Closing - Angelica Pino