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Gender Based Violence Risk Assessment for East Amman, October 2021

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1. Executive summary

The present report highlights the main findings and recommendations of the GBV risk assessment for East Amman. The overall aim of the assessment was to better understand risks of GBV faced by vulnerable groups using an intersectional approach to understanding GBV risks and needs, and to provide recommendations on areas where GBV response and overall humanitarian response need to be enhanced. Findings highlight that GBV disproportionately affects women and girls, subjecting them to risk and unsafety within their own homes as well as outside, where they face all types of GBV mostly at the hands of partners, family members and other men in the community. Other vulnerable segments of the population include refugees from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Palestine. Women and girls and other vulnerable segments of the population are also at heightened risk due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic and its overall detrimental effects on lives and livelihoods across Jordan.

The risk assessment was coordinated by IOM and conducted by the members of the GBV sub-working group in East Amman, within the capital city of Jordan. It followed a qualitative methodology using community consultations through key informant interviews and focused group discussions. The report highlights the main findings and recommendations, through seven main parts: an introduction and context overview; a review of the methodology, the identified GBV Risks in Amman; and an intersectional of GBV risks and needs. This is then followed by an overview of GBV services, and recommendations for the way forward.

The GBV risk assessment in East Amman found a disturbingly high prevalence of GBV, disproportionately affecting women and girls, but also affecting boys and men and other vulnerable segments of the population. Insidious gender inequality and entrenched discrimination makes East Amman unsafe for many of its residents across nationalities. Violence inside and outside of the home often remains unchallenged and justified. Most GBV is faced at the hands of men and older boys in the community, especially intimate partners, and family members.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against women and girls – especially domestic violence – has intensified, due to economic and social stresses combined with movement restrictions and cramped homes, with many women and girls trapped at home with their abusers. COVID-19 has also intensified pre-existing barriers for women, girls and survivors in general to seek services and support.

The findings from this assessment confirm what we already know and what was also highlighted in the reports for Irbid, Ramtha, Azraq and the Emirati Jordanian Camp: GBV in Jordan, including in Amman remains normalized, justified and unchallenged, with women and girls and other segments of the population facing the challenges of entrenched gender inequality and discrimination. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Intimate partner violence and family violence including physical abuse; psychological and emotional abuse; denial of access to resources, opportunities and services.

  • Forced Marriage including early / child marriage

  • Sexual harassment and sexual abuse including: Verbal and sexual harassment outside the home;
    Sexual assault and rape; and sexual exploitation and abuse.

Community members spoke of sexual violence, mostly referring to the prevalence of sexual harassment in the streets and public areas and mentioning sexual abuse and rape risks outside of the home. They unanimously reported that the top risk facing women and girls outside of their homes is sexual harassment.

Findings from this risk assessment show that vulnerable groups at heightened risk of GBV in Amman are women and girls in general, and in particular refugees especially non-Syrian refugees; and women living without men (widowed, separated, divorced, head of household. Additional groups at specific risk of GBV are:

  • Young women and adolescent girls especially married adolescent girls who largely remain homebound and thus “invisible” and unable to access humanitarian services and opportunities.

  • Women and girls with disabilities who were reportedly at higher risk of neglect and bullying, but also sometimes at higher risk of GBV.

  • Working women who were found at heightened risk of sexual abuse in the workplace.

  • People with diverse sexual orientation and gender identity who are highly marginalized and consequently face a heightened risk of GBV.

  • Syrian women wearing the Niqab (Khimar), who find themselves at a heightened risk of sexual harassment and assault outside of their homes, as the Niqab seems to be viewed pejoratively.

While it was found that the home is unsafe for women and girls, regrettably, areas and community spaces outside of the home were identified as unsafe too. Public gardens, public markets (souk), crowded and/or secluded streets, and certain neighbourhoods are all perceived as risky for women and girls, during the daytime and even more so at night. The main characteristics that make a location/place unsafe are crowdedness, the presence of groups of men or boys especially those who abuse alcohol and drugs, a place that is deserted, or any place where people of both female and male genders are mixed, especially in public. Unsafe areas for men and boys were less clearly defined, as the main GBV risks faced by boys include exploitation at work (especially for refugees), and violence as a result of harmful masculinities.

This risk assessment also included an intersectional analysis of GBV risks and needs. Findings confirm that women empowerment and livelihood programming are strongly needed to complement GBV services, as women and girls especially survivors often lack a viable safety net; and in patriarchal communities such as in East Amman they usually have access to limited resources. A lack of access to economic opportunities often forces them to stay silent in the face of abuse, or to resort to harmful measures to survive. Other layers of difficulty and risk are faced by refugees especially those who are not Syrian, and even more so those who do not possess legal papers allowing them to work. Heightened GBV risks were also observed among the members of the LGBTQI+ community in Amman, who remain largely marginalized and subjected to harassment and abuse with total impunity and the difficulty of seeking support or justice.

Regarding available services, the risk assessment found that a wide range of GBV prevention and response services are available in Amman. Consulted community members seem to be aware of these services. Services seem to be accessible, and most of the time safe. However, many barriers in accessing services were identified, primarily originating from unequal gender relations that limit the movement and agency of women and girls: such as keeping women and girls home bound and preventing them from reaching out for help and support. One gap in services mentioned throughout the key informant interviews was the limited number of available shelters for survivors of GBV, however it became clear that there are 7 shelters in Jordan with a space and availability to respond to shelter emergencies. This highlights the need to clarify to partners the availability of specialized services, so case managers and GBV service providers are aware of what is available. Another gap that was highlighted is the limited number of cash for protection and NFI support for non-Syrian refugees.

In response to the findings of the GBV risk assessment, detailed recommendations have been highlighted as suggestions drawing from partners and community members. These include recommendations for GBV service providers, livelihood service providers, and donors. The recommendations are included within the final part of the present report.