Global Diligence LLP partner Alexandre Prezanti delivered a training on documenting conflict-related sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) to European civil society organisations in Rome. The training was organised by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in response to reports of a large number of SGBV crimes in Libyan migrant camps. The training was attended by representatives of European civil society organisations (CSO) that assist refugees and migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean from Libya. The aim of the training was to help CSO first responders to identify victims of SGBV and to document evidence of SGBV crimes without re-traumatising the victims.
According to the UNHCR definition, SGBV refers to any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and is based on gender norms and unequal power relationships. It encompasses threats of violence and coercion. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual in nature, and can take the form of a denial of resources or access to services. It inflicts harm on women, girls, men and boys.
SGBV is one of the most prevalent, yet underreported forms of violence in conflict. According to the Prosecution of the International Criminal Court (ICC), “Accountability for, and the prevention of, sexual and gender-based crimes require unified action, commitment, and dedicated efforts by all relevant actors.”
It is vital for first responders and documenters to know how to recognise SGBV in its many forms, to know how to speak to vulnerable victims and witnesses avoiding re-traumatisation, and to report on its devastating effects.