Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

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Principal Investigator: Jennifer Scott, MD, MPH (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center)


Evidence demonstrates that the risk of Gender-based Violence (GBV), including intimate partner violence (IPV), increases during humanitarian crises. Response efforts (i.e. quarantine) to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) may exacerbate IPV risk by limiting women’s options to distance themselves from perpetrators of violence and by reducing survivors’ access to GBV, health, and psychosocial services.

Upholding a gender-responsive approach to COVID-19, guidance has been developed for practitioners to integrate GBV risk mitigation into COVID-19 humanitarian response activities. Guidance documents apply previously established best practices (Guidelines for Integrating GBV Interventions in Humanitarian Action, Pocket Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action), and evidence is needed on how the Global Guidance is being used in the context of COVID-19.

This research aims to advance understanding on how COVID-19 guidance on GBV risk mitigation is being adapted and implemented, gaps in current guidance, and barriers to adoption and implementation.

Guidance on GBV risk mitigation is critical for protecting women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it is only effective if we understand what factors influence its implementation. Our multi-disciplinary team of humanitarian practitioners will collect field-based evidence to improve guidance and strengthen GBV risk mitigation in humanitarian contexts.
Jennifer Scott, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator

Expected Outcomes

Expected outputs include:

  1. Evidence to refine the Global Guidance on GBV risk mitigation for use during the current COVID-19 response, including quantitative and qualitative data and mobile app analytics. A series of case examples (across sectors and regions) will be developed for learning among humanitarian practitioners.

Expected outcomes include:

  1. Improved global guidance on mitigating GBV risk in non-protection sectors. Evidence will be shared with the multi-agency team developing Global Guidance on GBV risk mitigation to improve and refine guidance.
  2. Strengthened implementation of GBV risk mitigation measures and reduced GBV risk. Practitioners will use improved guidance, leading to reduced risk of GBV for women and girls during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Potential longer-term outcomes include:

  1. Advancing the evidence base on GBV risk mitigation in non-protection humanitarian sectors.
  2. Improved GBV risk mitigation in future outbreaks.
  3. Contribution to other tools, guidance and training materials.

Related Resources

Article, Peer Reviewed COVID-19, Gender-based Violence

Gender-Based Violence Risk Mitigation by Non-GBV Specialists Prior to and during COVID-19

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