Successful programs in the area of sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response are those that have been designed in consultation with refugee communities, particularly women and girls, and are based on multi-sectoral and inter-agency collaboration.
Some of the steps to be taken in developing a framework for action need to be taken simultaneously, others after prevention and monitoring strategies have been implemented. These steps are as follows:
- Identify and Involve Relevant Stakeholders – refugee community leaders, both male and female, influential individuals and groups in the community, local community representatives, health services, community service agencies, national and international NGOs, jurists in the field, UN agencies. They should be brought together in a working meeting, including training and lobbying on human rights issues, sexual and gender-based violence, protection and a presentation of all available services. The coordinating agency/institution and action plan for information gathering, situation analysis and future meetings to plan prevention and response strategies should also be established.
- Understanding all the facets of this phenomenon and agreeing on the purpose of the joint actions of the actors involved – knowledge of the terminology and the phenomenon allows for rigorous collection of information as well as comparative analysis at international level, thus making use of important data for the planning and development of programs that may not have been possible until now.
- Situational analysis – this involves defining problems, needs, resources, and specific goals and objectives, activities and expected results. Depending on available resources and experience, methods of gathering information may include: individual interviews, site visits, coordination meetings, focus groups, observations, reviewing and supplementing existing information.
- Agreement on a set of guiding principles at programs and individual level.
- Definition of roles and responsibilities for all involved.
- Establish monitoring and evaluation arrangements – ongoing monitoring ensures that prevention and response actions are being carried out appropriately, while regular evaluations highlight the impact of prevention and response strategies. This action plan should also include financial and human resources for monitoring and evaluation.
- Establish reporting and coordination mechanisms by establishing and continuously reviewing reporting methods among and between the different actors involved.
The best interests of the child must be paramount.
Children who are victims/survivors of sexual and gender-based violence must have immediate access to medical care and psychological support, and where appropriate, legal assistance. All actions must circumscribe the principle of the best interests of the child.
In determining the best interests of the child, the expression of the child’s own wishes and feelings must be taken into account.