Gender-Based Violence

In line with our mission to “assist refugees and the displaced, protect their rights and empower them towards a better future”, responding and preventing to gender-based violence is core element of DRC’s programmes in countries affected by conflict and forced displacement.

DRC marks the global campaign 16 Days of Activism to End GBV from 25 Nov - 10 Dec 2021, to boost momentum and mobilize for action to continue efforts to end GBV in all its forms. Protection from GBV in humanitarian and forced displacement settings is lifesaving.

What is Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms. It can take many forms - from physical violence to emotional or psychosocial abuse to sexual violence such as rape; forced marriage (hereunder child marriage); genital mutilation; to economic exploitation and deliberate deprivation such as denial of access to resources such as household assets. 

People of all genders experience GBV, but the majority of individuals those targeted are women and girls. The risk of GBV increases in situations of forced displacement. It is estimated that one woman in five is likely to experience sexual violence in conflict settings, where it may be used as a weapon of war by armed groups and militias to displace communities, seize contested land or other resources or as a means of repression, terror or control. The risk of GBV remains high during flight and forced displacement, and living in camps has been identified as a factor that increases the risk. 

What we do

For DRC GBV programming must be part of our interventions from the earliest onset of a crisis. We ensure that GBV response is available, for example through provision of comprehensive individual case management to ensure that GBV survivors have access to needed support and services such as legal assistance and psycho-social support

To address the root causes of GBV, we  also  implement  projects  and activities that contribute directly towards gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, such as community programmes to address social norms and promote positive masculinities and alternatives to violence.

DRCs’ work is guided by the DRC GBV Policy, which builds on relevant interagency GBV standards and guidelines. All of our activities are conducted using a survivor-centered approach, meaning that our interventions are based on wishes, informed consent and confidentiality of survivors of violence.


DRC works both governments, other humanitarian actors and importantly also with the communities affected by conflict and displacement, to prevent and respond to gender-based violence hereunder local organisations and communication-based networks.              

We are a partner on the global Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, which has as a core objective for every humanitarian effort works to mitigate GBV risks, and to provide safe and comprehensive services to the people affected.

Facts About Gender-Based Violence

The global record is more than alarming:

  • 1 in 3 women worldwide experience physical or sexual abuse and violence during their lifetime.
  • 200 million women experience genital mutilation.
  • Globally, 38% of all female homicides are committed by their (intimate) partner.
  • 83% of DRC’s protection operations include GBV prevention and response programming.
  • We coordinate with other actors for complementarity, by engaging in the GBV Area of Responsibility cluster in the countries where we implement GBV programming.