Forms of gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is a serious violation of human rights and one of the most widespread forms of gender-based inequality. This phenomenon causes harm to women, children, families, communities, and societies.

Law no. 217/2003 for the prevention and combating of domestic violence recognizes and defines the following forms of violence:

  • verbal violence – is manifested using offensive, brutal language (e.g.: the use of insults, threats, degrading words), as well as using a high, threatening tone.
  • psychological violence – manifested, in general, through verbal threats, insults, but also through discrediting, emotional blackmail, intimidation, control of personal life, acts of jealousy, coercion of any kind.
  • physical violence – manifested by physical or health damage by hitting, punching, slapping, pulling hair, immobilization, as well as by using white or firearms, human trafficking for work, removal of organs, slavery.
  • sexual violence – manifests itself through sexual aggression, the imposition of degrading acts, harassment, intimidation, manipulation, brutality in order to maintain forced sexual relations, marital rape, forced marriage, pornography.
  • economic violence – manifested by banning professional activity, reducing access to basic means of existence (food, medicines, necessities, telephone, etc.), unpaid work.
  • social violence – involves the imposition of isolation of the person from family, community and friends, prohibition of attending the educational institution or workplace, prohibition/limitation of professional achievement, monitoring of activities, etc.
  • spiritual violence – manifested by underestimating or diminishing the importance of satisfying moral-spiritual needs by prohibiting, limiting, ridiculing, penalizing the aspirations of family members.
  • cyber violence – manifested, in general, through online harassment, online messages inciting gender-based hatred, online stalking, online threats, non-consensual publication of intimate information and graphic content, etc.

Gender-based violence is widespread globally, mostly affecting women/girls, but it can also target men/boys, who can become victims of domestic violence, being assaulted by partners, children, or parents.


Sexual and reproductive rights

Sexual rights represent the right of every human being to have and live their own sexuality. Among them we can list the right to choose a partner, to decide whether to have sexual relations or not, the right to be informed about sexuality, etc.

Reproductive rights represent the right of every human being to make choices about pregnancy, contraceptive methods, or abortion.

The main sexual and reproductive rights are:

  • The right to life – refers to the medical assistance received during pregnancy and childbirth; women’s medical services must not be based on any other consideration than the well-being of her and her pregnancy.
  • The right to private life – refers to the right to make your own choices regarding sexuality, as well as the confidentiality that must be respected by those who provide you with medical, social, psychological, etc. assistance.
  • The right to equality – refers to the right to be treated equally and not to be discriminated against for ethnic, religious, gender-related or health reasons; men and women have equal rights.
  • The right to personal freedom and safety – refers to the right to one’s own body and sex life, the right to choose freely if and when you want to have children, the right to have access to reproductive health services.
  • The right to freedom of thought – refers to the right to have one’s own opinion on sexuality and sexual health, as well as the right to discuss these opinions.
  • The right to information and education – refers to the right to receive all the information necessary to take care of your sexual and reproductive health.
  • The right to marry and found a family – refers to the right to decide if and when you want to start a family, as well as when you want children and the spacing between pregnancies.
  • The right not to be subjected to torture and ill-treatment – refers to the right to be protected against all forms of violence related to sexuality, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape (including marital rape), human trafficking, child abuse or female genital mutilation.
  • The right to medical assistance – refers to the right of access to medical assistance and to benefit from medical care under the conditions established by the laws in the field.

In Romania, rights in the field of reproduction are stipulated in Law no. 46 of January 21, 2003, regarding patient rights.


Invitation to complete a questionnaire on gender-based violence among migrants/refugees

During this period, ICAR Foundation carries out the data collection/research activity at national level, by applying questionnaires both among refugees/migrants and among specialists from public authorities/non-governmental organisations with responsibilities in the field of migration/violence.

In this regard, we invite you to contribute to the research carried out within the EVA IRFAM project – There is Hidden Violence Affecting Migrant Women and to answer some questions about your experience working with migrants/refugees, focusing on gender-based violence.

The online completion of the questionnaire addressed to the specialists from the public authorities/non-governmental organisations can be done by clicking here.

The questionnaire is only available in Romanian.

The completion time of the questionnaire is estimated to be between 10 and 15 minutes.

We would be grateful if you could complete it by May 16, 2022.


Violence is a violation of human rights!

Violence against women and girls exists in all countries and at all levels of society. Each state has a fundamental human rights responsibility to provide protection against this type of violence. This is not a private matter.

ICAR Foundation, which runs the EVA IRFAM project (There is Hidden Violence Affecting Migrant Women) has joined, since 2021, The Network for Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, in the firm condemnation of all forms of violence against girls and women.

The Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence calls on the signatory states to implement comprehensive and coordinated policies against this type of violence. The rights of survivors must be in the center of all measures. The work of civil society must be encouraged and supported. It is very important that the authorities formulate and implement specific policies and strategies to protect and help the survivors of gender-based violence.

ICAR Foundation aims to increase awareness of migrant women/young migrants on the ways of action in cases of GBV and the reduction of the tolerance toward GBV acts in the community.


„Migrants and Gender-Based Violence” Webinar

On December 10, 2021, with the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, ICAR Foundation organised the webinar with „Migrants and Gender-Based Violence” theme, an event that aimed to sound the alarm about this phenomenon, in which women, girls, children and young people are falling victim.

The event took place on the last day of the ‘Orange the World’ campaign, in the context in which ICAR Foundation is running a project (EVA IRFAM – There is Hidden Violence Among Migrant Women) that addresses cases of gender-based violence among migrants.

Experts in the field took the floor in the webinar: Nora Sveaass, clinical psychologist and HHRI president (Mental Health and Human Rights Info) – Norvegia, Dr. Diddy Mymin Kahn – Co-founder and director of Kuchinate, African Refugee Women’s Collective – Israel and Lia Faur, professor of Romanian language and civilization at El Manar University in Tunis. The event was moderated by Dr. Camelia Doru – Project coordinator and President of ICAR Foundation.

The project is carried out by ICAR Foundation in partnership with Health and Human Rights Info, with the financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, program financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021. The aim of the project is to increase the capacity of women, young people and LGBTIQ migrants/refugees to recognize and get out of GBV situations thanks to the support services, awareness campaign and training of specialists from public institutions at national level in identifying, intervening, and preventing GBV and the development of ICAR Foundation as a resource center on GBV by conducting the first research report on GBV on refugees in Romania and developing a work guide for specialists.


Psychological services

Within our EVA IRFAM – There is Hidden Violence Affecting Migrant Women project, the migrants we work with benefit, free of charge, from psychological support either through counseling sessions or support groups.


Psychological counseling is offered, upon request, to those people who want psychological support / intervention. The main purpose of psychological counseling sessions is to prevent or alleviate the psycho-emotional traumatic consequences of abuse.


The support groups have the role of providing participants with a safe space in which to discuss their feelings and needs. Special emphasis will be placed on increasing the capacity of migrant / refugee women and girls and LGBTIQ people to know their rights in GBV situations and to access their rights in relation to public authorities / community / family space. 

In both types of activities / services, emphasis will be placed on supporting and encouraging participants to reflect on their personal situations and their position within social structures (family, community, country).


The main beneficiaries of counseling activities and support groups are migrant / refugee women and LGBTQI people, as well as young migrants.


What is the meaning of gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality and represents one of the most notable human rights violations. Gender-based violence has been defined by CEDAW Committee as that type of violence that is targeting a person based on gender or sex. It includes acts that cause physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, the threat of such acts, constraint and other forms of deprivation of liberty.

Although both women and men can be victims of gender-based violence, it was determined that the majority of victims are women and girls. It should also be noted that sexual violence, including exploitation and abuse, is a form of gender-based violence.

Gender-based actions have serious consequences, including:

  • Impaired mental health could cause PTSD, anxiety and depression;

  • Social exclusion, suicide and the killings of girls and women, inflicted by members of the community, caused by the fact that women do not report abuse for different reasons;

  • Unwanted pregnancies and infection with diseases, including HIV, etc.


Related to migrants, it was observed that there is little data / evidence about acts of gender-based violence in Europe. However, some studies that included respondents in this category of people showed that some of them had been victimized, while others had friends / colleagues who had experienced one of the forms of gender-based violence. The main violent experiences that were reported included sexual violence, including rape and sexual exploitation, while the main perpetrators were either partners / former partners, asylum staff or other European citizens.


EVA IRFAM Project Launch

ICAR Foundation, in partnership with MHHRI (Mental Health and Human Rights Info, Oslo – Norway), is happy to announce the launch of EVA IRFAM, a project dedicated to researching and raising awareness around gender-based violence (GBV) affecting migrant women.


EVA IRFAM is the first project in Romania to address this complex and little-known phenomenon.


Our purpose for the next two years is to offer social, medical, psychological and legal support to victims of GBV. We will also organize workshops and focus groups designed to shift the perception of participants on this matter and to inform migrant women on their rights and the services they can access if they are victims or at risk of GBV.


With the help and expertise of our Norwegian partner, ICAR will offer capacity building workshops to specialists working in government institutions, aimed at improving their approach on this issue, by changing discriminatory attitudes and creating GBV guidelines.


On the 12th of May, Wednesday, from 10:30-12:00 Romania time, we will hold the online launch event for the project with the stakeholders involved. If you are interested in this topic and would like to join us, please send an email at .