Gender, women and health

WHO’s response to the challenge to end violence against women and girls


Addressing gender-based violence in conflict and other emergency settings

To address gender-based violence in emergencies and crises situations, WHO works through several inter-agency fora that seek to ensure comprehensive and coordinated response to sexual and other forms of gender-based violence in emergency settings. Normative guidance developed includes:

  • Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) guidelines for gender-based violence interventions in humanitarian settings: focusing on prevention of and response to sexual violence in emergencies (2005)
  • The minimum initial services package for reproductive health in emergencies (MISP): includes the prevention of and response to sexual violence (clinical management) as a critical service that the health sector must provide even during the early /acute stages of a crisis. WHO serves as the global lead of the humanitarian health cluster, and has been working to ensure that the cluster's tools and guidance reflect and integrate existing standards including the MISP
  • The WHO/UNHCR guidelines on clinical management of rape: developing protocols for use (2004)
  • The WHO ethical and safety recommendations for researching, documenting and monitoring sexual violence in emergencies (2007)

As a member of UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN Action), and lead of the knowledge building work of this initiative, WHO developed field-friendly guidance on use of data on sexual violence and has convened a meeting to identify gaps in knowledge, methodologies and best practices in data collection.

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