According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Despite being so prevalent, gender-based violence is largely underreported because of taboo, stigma and lack of access to resources and support systems. While women and girls are the most at risk and the most affected by gender-based violence, boys, men, and sexual and gender minorities also experience gender-based violence.
Danish Refugee Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in coordination with state institutions and UNFPA, provide assistance for the gender-based violence (GBV) victims among people on the move when these cases are identified by Protection staff in key locations where DRC operates – along migration routes and in border areas.
‘DRC identifies around 30 new cases per year among the locations where we work, and we find that the victims are mostly women and young males. As first aid, we provide them with a space in one of safe houses, then followed by psychosocial support to help the victims through the trauma and with other needs they may have. DRC also facilitates access to critical public services for the victims and makes sure that these are the same level and of the same quality as for the local population. Furthermore, we advocate for enhanced policies and practices that protect the equal rights of women, men, girls and boys, and those who suffer discrimination based on gender or sex,’ tells Mirjana Nešić, DRC GBV Officer.
The most common recorded GBV cases concern sexual violation and exploitation of labour forces. DRC organises sessions for organisations working with protection of refugees and migrants, as well as directly to people on the move, to raise their awareness of risks and dangers and how to report or seek help in case they fall victim to gender-based violence.