New Report: U.N. and W.H.O. Release Research Agenda on Sexual Violence in Humanitarian and Post-Conflict Settings
Monday, August 13, 2012 10:55 AM

In a new report, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) identified strategic priorities for research on sexual violence in conflict situations. The research agenda was developed after consultation with experts from UN agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, and a wide range of practitioners from around the world. The results of these consultations were combined with the findings of an extensive literature review to form the following ranked list of research priorities:
1. The scope and effectiveness of programs to prevent conflict-related sexual violence.
2. The scope and effectiveness of programs to respond to conflict-related sexual violence.
3. The impact of conflict-related sexual violence on individuals, families, communities and countries.
4. Better understanding of the different forms of and motivations for conflict-related sexual violence.
5. Integration of sexual assault services in sexual and reproductive health services including emergency contraception, safe abortion services, and family planning.
6. The role of economic empowerment and holistic approaches in the prevention of, and response to, conflict-related sexual violence.
7. How to respond to the needs of women and girls who become pregnant as a result of conflict-related rape and the needs of children born of rape.
8. The needs of ex-combatant sexual violence survivors (men and women) and effective program approaches.
9. Men and boys as survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
10. The impact of conflict on male gender identities and conceptualization of masculinity.
The report also outlines a number of methodological improvements to strengthen research on sexual violence in conflict situations around the world. The authors call for the development of consistent, rigorous definitions and measurement methodologies, increased collaboration and information-sharing between researchers, and the use of theoretical concepts to inform program and research design. The research agenda is designed as a tool to guide both donors and researchers to focus their attention on the existing gaps in the research on the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.