Gender Based Violence (GBV) is an alarming concern in Cabo Delgado. Women and girls are at risk of multiple forms of GBV before, during and after displacement.
UNHCR works with the local authorities, displaced and host communities, partners, protection focal points, and activists to respond and prevent GBV in Northern Mozambique.
UNHCR provided GBV and PSEA community engagement toolkit to 84 Protection Focal Points who reached 2,674 people since January 2022.
GBV is a major protection concern amid Cabo Delgado’s humanitarian crisis. Displaced women and girls are at risk of multiple forms of GBV including sexual violence, abduction, intimate partner violence, and spiralling rates of early marriage.
IDP sites and host community locations lack basic safety and assistance, leaving women and girls, many of whom have experienced conflict related GBV, exposed to ongoing risks of GBV. Sexual violence whilst collecting water and firewood, sexual and physical assault in homes due to inadequate shelter, and fear of sexual violence due to lack of lighting at night are some of the GBV risks identified by UNHCR through GBV Safety Audits among IDPs and the host community.
Adolescent girls are at heightened risk of GBV and have been identified as the most vulnerable group. Risks of GBV towards girls are escalating, including harmful traditional practises such as early marriage, sexual abuse and exploitation of girls, abduction, and high rates of early pregnancy. Yet, girls feel they are not sufficiently included in humanitarian programmes, unrepresented in decision making, and lack access to services, activities and safe spaces adapted to their specific protection needs.
Sexual exploitation is a risk, particularly in urban areas due to lack of assistance. Highly vulnerable groups such as single women head of households, women and girls with disabilities, adolescent girls and sex workers are at particular risk. Women and girls are often sexually exploited as they cannot fulfil their basic needs such as food and hygiene items. Women and girls have been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by NSAGs and are exposed to GBV during their abduction. Following their release or escape, they are perceived as part of the NSAGs and face discrimination within the community. Survivors of GBV perpetrated by armed groups are a ongoing risk and require immediate protection, mental health and psycho-social support (MHPSS), health and reintegration assistance.