Prevention of sexual violence against refugees

An understanding of the ways in which sexual violence affects victims will assist those working with them to help alleviate their suffering. The UNHCR Guidelines on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence Against Refugees provide a primer on when and how sexual violence can occur in the refugee context and the physical, psychological and social effects it can have on those exposed.

These Guidelines highlight the fact that many, and perhaps most, incidents of sexual violence remain unreported for reasons including shame, social stigma and fear of reprisal or the case going to trial. The Guidelines address ways to combat the occurrence of sexual violence and how to respond when incidents occur. They emphasize the need for education, training and information campaigns. The Guidelines underline the need for refugees, and in particular refugee women, to receive legal awareness training, leadership and skills training, and education.