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Guidance Note: Communicating about Sexual Violence Incidents as Humanitarian Organisations

22 August 2017

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Guidance Note: Communicating about Sexual Violence Incidents as Humanitarian Organisations

“Communicating as humanitarian organisations about the sexual violence experiences of humanitarian aid workers has multiple purposes. It helps to raise the voices of survivors, de- stigmatise their experiences, and open up conversations about the issue. It can change behaviours and norms, shift approaches to addressing sexual violence incidents, and create changes to prevention measures, policies, and procedures. Communicating about this issue can assist in the pursuit of justice and accountability. It can establish models for other humanitarian organisations and change the status quo. There is always value in promoting transparency, professionalism, and vulnerability, as it encourages growth throughout the humanitarian community.

What is set out within this document [2017] is a series of suggestions on how humanitarian organisations can approach improving or shifting how they communicate about sexual violence – internally, at the field level, and globally. Not every suggestion will be suitable for all incidents of sexual violence of course; this document does not suggest, for example, that internal incidents should be communicated across organisations at the field level. Contextualisation is also important, particularly in locations where sexual violence incidents may be punishable by death or severe harm, as is the involvement of effected staff.

Humanitarian organisations are encouraged to take the ideas and principles outlined in this document and make them their own, build on them, and share the lessons learned.”


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