Care-seeking among survivors of gender-based violence in the Dadaab refugee complex

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24/02/2020 12:00 am

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This week’s RAISE/IAWG literature review includes a study exploring barriers and facilitators to care-seeking for gender-based violence (GBV) among women living in the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya. The study found that facilitators to seeking GBV services included awareness of such services and perceived severity of the violence, while barriers included stigma, fear of additional violence, feelings of helplessness and insecurity, and denial of entry to care provision locations by guards.


In humanitarian settings, timely access to care is essential for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). Despite the existence of GBV support services, challenges still exist in maximising benefits for survivors. This study aimed to understand the characteristics of violence against women and explore barriers and facilitators to care-seeking for GBV by women in two camps within the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya. A mixed-methods design was used to study women accessing comprehensive GBV services between February 2016 and February 2017. Women were recruited into a cohort study (n = 209) and some purposively selected for qualitative in-depth interviews (n = 34). Survivor characteristics were descriptively analysed from baseline measures, and interview data thematically assessed. A majority of women were Muslim, of Somali origin, had been residents in the camp for more than five years, with little or no formal education, and meagre or no monthly income. From the survey, 60.3% and 66.7% of women had experienced non-partner violence or intimate partner violence in their lifetime respectively. Facilitators to accessing GBV services by survivors included awareness of GBV services and self-perceived high severity of acts of violence. Barriers included stigma by family and the community, fear of further violence from perpetrators, feelings of helplessness and insecurity, and being denied entry to service provision premises by guards. Women in the Dadaab refugee camps face violence from intimate partners, family, and other refugees. There is an urgent need to address drivers of GBV and the barriers to disclosure and access to services for all survivors of GBV.

Read the full paper here.

Corporate Author: Sheru Muup. Stella Kagwiria Muthuri, Martin Kavao Mutua, Alys McAlpine, Loraine J. Bacchus, Hope Ogego, Martin Bangha, Mazeda Hossain & Chimaraoke Izugbara

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