VAWG and Humanitarian working groups provide evidence to Lords Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee

The GADN VAWG and Humanitarian Working Groups have submitted written evidence for an inquiry conducted by the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict. This submission addresses the causes of sexual violence in conflict (SVC), prevention of SVC, needs of survivors of SVC, women’s participation and accountability for SVC.

The evidence also includes an overview section on the working groups' reflections on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI).

Key recommendations to the Committee include:

  • Asking the UK Government how PSVI is consistent with other UK Government policies, programmes and funding streams on violence against women and girls and conflict
  • Asking the UK Government to clarify and publish the theory of change for preventing SVC and how this is consistent with existing literature and DFID’s Theory of Change on Tackling VAWG
  • Clarifying to what extent PSVI was informed by other UK Government policies (specifically DFID’s Theory of Change on VAWG and the NAP) as well as the emerging evidence base, including that presented through DFID’s What Works Programme
  • Asking the UK Government what monitoring, evaluation and learning processes have been designed and implemented for PSVI, what their initial findings/lessons are and to what extent local women’s rights groups are involved in this process
  • Asking how the UK Government ensures the meaningful participation and inclusion of women, and attention to gender equality, within early warning systems
  • Asking how the UK Government has integrated survivor safety into PSVI programmes and funding, beyond the International Protocol
  • Asking the UK Government how PSVI directly contributes to supporting women’s empowerment and participation in peace and security processes, within the UK NAP
  • Asking the UK Government to clarify what needs assessment the PSVI strategy was based upon. We further recommend that the Committee asks the UK Government how the PSVI supports SVC survivors holistically and supports them throughout the justice process, as well as what efforts it has made to improve the integrity and effectiveness of legal institutions

GADN VAWG and Humanitarian Working Groups welcome the development of Family Response Units and recommend that the Committee asks the UK Government to confirm if the UK has plans to support these Units in the future.

Key recommendations to the UK Government include:

  • Undertaking meaningful consultations with a wide range of women’s rights organisations (including those that work with marginalised groups of women) whilst developing the next phase of the PSVI, particularly in priority countries
  • The PSVI should include a strong focus on tackling gender inequality, recognising this is a root cause of sexual violence, including sexual violence used as a military tactic. Further, PSVI should be clearly and consistently grounded in a survivor-centred approach
  • Increasing the quality funding (long-term, flexible and core funding) available to local and national women’s rights organisations
  • Integrating comprehensive gender-sensitive protection mechanisms into civil society funding streams
  • Continuing to advocate within the humanitarian and donor community for the recognition of VAWG as a pervasive issue in all conflicts and emergencies, and continuing to advocate for all humanitarian leadership to assume and believe VAWG is occurring in all emergencies as mandated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Gender-Based Violence Guidelines and respond accordingly.
  • Increasing funding to address gaps in frontline, comprehensive services for survivors of sexual violence, particularly through funding women’s rights organisations. GADN further recommends that the UK adopts a holistic, survivor-centred approach to supporting SVC survivors.
  •  Articulating the role of women’s organisations with the PSVI strategy and how it has supported their efforts to date.

The full written evidence is available here.