Addressing Gender-Based Violence

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Addressing Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based Violence is a life threatening human rights and global health issue. It is estimated that over one third of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Tackling gender-based violence is a priority for Irish Red Cross. 

Gender-based Violence (GBV) is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based inequality and abuse of power, which exists in every society in the world.

GBV is made up of a wide variety of types of violence. While diverse in scope, acts of GBV tend to be distinct from other forms of violence because they are often of a personal and intimate nature, interlinked with sensitive social and cultural norms, and rooted in gender inequality and discrimination.

GBV in armed conflict, disasters and other emergencies has devastating consequences for survivors, their families and often their communities. Accordingly, preventing such violence, protecting survivors and providing adequate and appropriate responses to their needs is a critical humanitarian issue.

GBV in Disasters

The prevalence of GBV is particularly high at times of disasters. However, the nature and extend of GBV during disasters, including natural disasters, displacement and public health emergencies, is not very well understood. In order to address this knowledge gap, in early 2015, the IFRC commissioned a global study and research in nine disaster-affected countries to address this knowledge gap. The report – Unseen, Unheard: Gender-based violence in disasters – looks at what characterises GBV during disasters, how legal and policy frameworks should be adapted to address GBV during disasters and how Red Cross National Societies and other local actors can prevent and respond to GBV during disasters.

Building on this research, in 2017 the Red Cross published a Global Study and three country case studies undertaken in Ecuador, Nepal and Zimbabwe that looked at the effectiveness of national laws, policies and institutional frameworks in supporting gender equality in disaster risk management (DRM) and preventing and responding to GBV in disasters. The reports highlight the need to improve coordination between DRM and GBV-related sectors.

What we do

We continue with our efforts to prevent and respond to GBV, in a multidisciplinary way, including actively working to respond to the impact it has on those affected by developing programmes and integrating the issue into existing activities so as to prevent its future occurrence.

In 2015, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement adopted the Joint Resolution on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: Joint Action on Prevention and Response. Through this resolution the Irish Red Cross commits, together with states, to mitigate GBV in times of disaster as a priority. We achieve this through operational research, application of minimum standards and working in partnerships to determine root causes of SGBV in disasters in each context.

Underpinning the resolution are two other commitments made by Red Cross National Societies, namely; the IFRC Strategic Framework on Gender and Diversity Issues 2013 – 2020 and the IFRC Framework on Violence Prevention, Mitigation and Response 2012 – 2020

The most common type of activities that we implement to address this issue include awareness raising and violence prevention with programmes being supported by Irish Red Cross in a number of countries that we work in including Greece and Gaza.

The Irish Red Cross is also an active advocate within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in support of efforts to address GBV. In Ireland, Irish Red Cross is a member of the Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence which comprises humanitarian and development organisations, Irish Aid and the Defence Forces, all working together to address GBV.

More Resources

Gender-Based Violence in Disasters Information Sheet

Unseen, Unheard: Gender Based Violence in Disasters - Asia Pacific Case Studies

Minimum Standard Commitments to Gender and Diversity in Emergency Programming

Normative Frameworks’ role in addressing gender-based violence in disaster settings

Ten Steps to Creating Safe Environments: How organisations and communities can prevent, mitigate and respond to interpersonal violence

Predictable, Preventable: Best Practices for Addressing Inter-personal and Self-Directed Violence during and after Disasters