Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a prevalent human rights violation both globally and on the European level. SGBV has both physical and psychological forms, it includes domestic violence, sexual harassment and violence, harmful practices, exploitation and trafficking in human beings. Women and men, girls and boys and LGBTQI people can all become victims of such violence however the majority of the victims are women and girls.
The PROTECT – Preventing sexual and gender-based violence against migrants and strengthening support to victims project aims to support the coordination and/or adaptation of support services for sexual and gender-based violence victims and potential victims among refugees, migrants and asylum seekers (children and adults, including LGBTQI people). It is funded by the EU’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020).
The project is implemented by 12 IOM country offices (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Spain) and 8 NGO partners, Legebitra (Slovenia), Le monde selon les femmes asbl (Belgium), Fundación EMET Arco Iris, Asociación Rumiñahui, Movimiento por la Paz (Spain), Arq Psychotrauma Expert Groep, Rutgers, and Pharos (Netherlands) between October 2018 and March 2020.
The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the capacities of existing national support services for sexual and gender based violence to coordinate better and make these systems available for refugee, migrant and asylum seeker victims and potential victims of SGBV. The project also aims to raise awareness among and empower these communities.
The project has the following specific objectives and activities:
- Strengthen and adapt existing national support services for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to coordinate better and include refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers.
- Build capacity for professionals who work with and for refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers with the aim of identifying and addressing the needs of victims and potential victims of SGBV more effectively.
- Empower and inform refugee and migrant communities and asylum-seekers of SGBV and its prevention through a regional awareness-raising campaign.
As part of the PROTECT project, IOM Belgium and Luxembourg organizes trainings provided by Le Monde selon les femmes asbl on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and migration. The trainings aim to train professionals who are in contact with migrants on SGBV. In particular, they address sexual violence and its impact on the individual, and aim to strengthen the capacity of the participants to provide the appropriate support, and to guide the victims while taking care of themselves.
IOM also provides trainings for students in Social Work, and information sessions in primary and secondary schools, on SGBV and migration.