As Nancy Dorsinville, a policy adviser in the United Nations’ Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti, recently told a gathering of experts in New York, there is an urgent need for training peacekeepers, humanitarian aid staff, local law enforcement and social workers to prevent gender-based violence in refugee camps and other vulnerable areas.
The gender dimension of aid and security policies has only recently come under scrutiny, despite widespread occurrences of sexual assault and rape. There is neither an adequate system for documentation of these claims, nor judicial capacity to handle sex violence reports.
Training is absolutely essential. For example, while there is now a domestic violence hot line through the police department in Port-au-Prince, there’s a need for training agents on how to respond to callers with sensitivity and appropriate action.
Without training all those who can help to prevent sexual assaults and rape, these horrific instances of violence against women will continue.
Linda Basch President, National Council for Research on Women New York, June 24, 2010