The Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR) is the global level forum for coordination and collaboration under the Cluster Approach on GBV prevention and response in humanitarian settings. The GBV AoR constitutes a focus area within the Global Protection Cluster (GPC).
The GBV AoR brings together non-governmental organisations, UN agencies, academics and others under the shared objective of ensuring life-saving, predictable, accountable and effective GBV prevention, risk mitigation and response in emergencies, both natural disaster and conflict-related humanitarian contexts. The GBV AoR also works to strengthen systemwide preparedness and technical capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies. The GBV AoR was founded in 2006 and sits within the GPC, one of the eleven humanitarian clusters established by the IASC in 2005. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been the lead Agency of the GBV AoR since April 2016.
This strategy builds on the substantial achievements of the GBV AoR to date and sets out the priorities for the next three years. It is based on extensive consultations: including 50 key informant interviews with members and partners and a series of focus group discussions conducted with GBV Coordinators at the annual retreat in Portugal, GBV AoR Core members, and field based sub-clusters in Mindanao, Philippines; Juba, South Sudan; Gaziantep hub, Whole of Syria; Yangon, Myanmar ; and Kabul, Afghanistan as well as with 30 sub-cluster coordinators and partners from the West and Central African Region in Dakar, Senegal. In addition, an online survey, aimed at sub-cluster members was distributed in French, English, Arabic and Spanish and received 376 responses from 42 countries.
The GBV AoR applies the IASC definition of gender-based violence: “Gender-based violence is an umbrella term for any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will, and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females.” The term GBV is used to underscore how systemic gender inequality acts as a foundational characteristic of most forms of violence perpetrated against women and girls.
The term is a reflection of unequal power relations and that violence is often used to maintain and reinforce gender inequalities.
Gender discrimination is not only a cause of many forms of violence against women and girls but also contributes to the widespread acceptance and invisibility of such violence— so that perpetrators are not held accountable and survivors are discouraged from speaking out and accessing support. Recognising that evidence shows that women and girls are disproportionately affected by GBV, the GBV AoR prioritises women and girls, whilst being inclusive of all survivors.