Increased vulnerability to gender-based violence (GBV) in refugee women in humanitarian settings. Identifying the gaps

  • Argiro Karakosta
  • Elena Riza
Keywords: gender-based violence, female refugees, humanitarian setting, barriers, review


Gender based violence (GBV) remains one of the most serious threats to the health and safety of women worldwide. The problem is even more pronounced in refugee populations where women are at increased risk of violence. Continuing international conflict has resulted in several million people seeking asylum in other countries each year, over half of whom are women. A systematic literature review of articles published between 2010 and 2020 was conducted. Databases included PubMed, PsychINFO and Google Scholars. Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Study findings indicate that refugee women are extremely vulnerable to gender-based violence and although international NGOs and UN agencies have published guidelines relating to the prevention and management of GBV, they usually fail to address the complex dynamics and factors contributing to GBV exposure of female refugees. From our review is obvious that these services and/or interventions are either not available or the affected populations don’t have satisfying access, use, uptake and quality, due to a range of different barriers. In conclusion, it is unlikely that the flow of refugees will diminish significantly in the near future. A genuine commitment to protect refugee women from gender-based violence needs more action to tackle the various causes of vulnerability to violence, and to provide adequate services for those experiencing such violence, is needed.

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