In humanitarian settings, rates of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) are amplified, resulting in negative physical and mental health effects that need to be addressed by promoting sexual and reproductive rights and access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.
On July 15, Halyna Skipalska and Ariadna Capasso were invited to present the findings of their research on sexual violence in conflict-affected Ukraine, where internally displaced women experience sexual violence at 3 times the rate of non-displaced women. Research data was collected by 26 mobile teams operating in 5 different conflict-affected regions in Ukraine. The project, implemented by HealthRight International and funded by the United Nations Population Fund, aims to improve access to care for GBV survivors.
Skipalska and Capasso’s presentation was part of a webinar series by the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crisis titled Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Humanitarian-Development Nexus. The webinar hosted speakers from around the world and discussions regarding the protective and risk factors for GBV, access to psychosocial services, and promotion of sexual and reproductive rights in humanitarian crises.
“Our presentation on serving survivors of sexual violence in a conflict setting elicited a rich discussion on policies and strategies to protect women from sexual and other forms of gender-based violence at checkpoints and during border crossings, as well as on how to strengthen and improve data intake and referrals to medical care,” says Capasso. Skipalska and Capasso hope to use this information to enhance the work of the mobile teams to improve the services available to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and to raise awareness around these issues.