Addressing sexual and gender-based violence

 Somaliland: services for sexual and gender-based violence survivorsSexual Assault Referral Centres in Hargeisa and Burao, Somaliland, combining the provision of medical and legal services for sexual and gender-based violence survivors, have been established with UNDP’s support. Photo: UNDP Somalia

Sexual and gender-based violence has devastating, long-term effects on the lives of victims, their families and communities, and also impedes development progress.  Where sexual and gender-based violence persist, women and girls are usually disproportionally affected.  Levels of sexual and gender-based violence often rise in crisis and conflict settings, where systems of protection, security and justice break down. During violent conflict, rape is often used as a military tactic to harm, humiliate and shame.  

Sexual and gender-based violence is neither inevitable nor acceptable. UNDP supports national efforts to tackle sexual and gender-based violence by:

  • Increasing women’s political participation and leadership in sectors such as justice and security, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and economic recovery;
  • Building capacities of police investigators, prosecutors and judges working on sexual and gender-based violence cases;  
  • Supporting the development of policy and legal frameworks that are inclusive and protective of women and women’s rights;
  • Improving access to justice and security service delivery;
  • Providing services for survivors, including medical, psycho-social, family, legal and economic assistance, such as through one-stop clinics;
  • Tackling  impunity for sexual and gender-based violence;
  • Establishing victims’ rights to reparations to help them rebuild their lives;
  • Engaging at community level in awareness-raising and prevention activities;
  • Mobilizing men to advocate against and tackle the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence.

As part of these efforts, UNDP works closely with UNWomen and UNFPA and other partners such as the UN Team of Experts on Rule of Law/Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Global Focal Point for Rule of Law in post-conflict and other crisis situations as well as UN Action against Conflict Related Sexual Violence.

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