How can humanitarian agencies better prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies? On 18 February 2014, the Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN) held an event to examine the challenges associated with prevention and response programming, the different forms of violence facing women and girls and the ways in which the needs of survivors can be better addressed in humanitarian crises.
Two publications were launched at this event: Humanitarian Exchange 60, on Gender-based violence in emergencies, and Network Paper 77, Preventing and responding to gender-based violence in humanitarian crises. The chair, Wendy Fenton, noted that, while there is a lack of good evidence on what works in preventing and responding to GBV, there are lessons to be learnt:
- Awareness-raising activities such as cinema or radio programmes can help to decrease community acceptance of gender-based violence, reduce the tendency to blame victims and improve knowledge of women’s rights.
- The findings also suggest that discussion groups that include or target men can improve empathy for women and reduce tolerance of violence against women.
- However, these examples are context-specific and may not work in all crises, which is why a larger body of evidence on GBV in emergencies is needed.