We assume gender violence against women as a specific type of violence that includes physical, psychological and sexual abuses directed to a person, just because of her gender. It is related to the sexist and discriminatory cultures toward women, and – in most cases – it reflects the unequal power and different roles that societies and prevailing cultures entrust to women and men due to their sex at birth.
Sexual violence against refugees and asylum-seeker women has different forms, from sexual abuse to forced prostitution and sexual exploitation, human trafficking and violence within close relationships, as couples. It arises because of several factors, such as sexual exchanges to obtain transfers; unsafe traveling conditions; uncertain conditions at the entrance ports in foreign countries; poor living conditions and forced sex or rape in transit and reception centres; uncertain legal status in the host countries; criminal organisations managing illegal transfers, trafficking and prostitution.
Gender violence against refugee and asylum-seeker women often goes unnoticed, unspoken, unaddressed or untreated. On the one hand, victims tend to not disclose violence, due to the uncertainty of their conditions, the fear of retaliation or other reasons. On the other hand, public officials, humanitarian agents and social workers and other professionals who come into contact with or support women after they arrive in the UK are often not specifically trained to deal with sexual gender based violence, and can lack the instruments for violence prevention, recognition and protection.
Key project activities
The key activity of the project is to develop and deliver training modules in each partner country to front-line professionals working with RAS women.
In 2018, the UK team is piloting a multi-disciplinary team to identify and respond to RAS women victims of violence. A new pioneering team will bring together different expertise and competencies to respond to RAS women victims of sexual violence and exploitation by working jointly on the identification, recognition and treatment of violence.
There are also initiatives at the community level aimed at raising awareness among professionals, agencies and NGOs who are active in contrasting violence or deal with migrant, refugees and asylum seekers, but are not directly engaged in working with RAS women.