Development of a prevention tool to combat violence against refugees in Europe: a participatory approach


To research sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against refugee women and girls in Europe in a participatory way
To develop a prevention tool which can be used by refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in Europe
To raise awareness about SGBV against refugees among the general European public
To empower refugee women and girls and to involve men equally


Community-based Participatory Research: overall qualitative, applied & formative method
Socio-ecological framework on violence
Desirable Prevention framework on prevention
In-depth interviews & focus groups: Framework Analysis Technique & SPSS


Recruitment and training of 23 Community Researchers in Belgium and the Netherlands
Establishment of a Community Advisory Board (CAB) in Belgium and the Netherlands consisting of community researchers, intermediary organisations & services, local & regional authorities and university researchers.
Fieldwork research on sexual health, SGBV and SGBV prevention among the sampled target groups.
Participatory development of a prevention tool: design, pilot-testing, finalization and translation into several refugee languages.
Desk study on existing prevention tools and European stakeholders
Awareness raising activities: leaflets, meetings, lectures, workshops, articles
European Seminar on Prevention of SGBV against refugees in Europe to disseminate the research results, the methods applied and the prevention tool, as well as to formulate policy recommendations.


23 refugees and asylum seekers in B & Nl were trained and collaborated as Community Researchers throughout the project. A Community Advisory Board (CAB) was established in B & Nl and consisted of the community researchers and more than 50 intermediary organizations & services, local & regional authorities and researchers. This CAB was involved in the questionnaire design; in the interpretation of the results; in the development, pilot-testing, finalization and dissemination of the tool; in the final European Seminar and in awareness raising activities.
The fieldwork research consisted firstly of 223 valid in-depth interviews describing 332 victimization cases of female and male refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, the former Soviet-Union and Roma and Kurds, aged between 15 and 49 years; living in East-Flanders (B) or the Randstad (Nl) and victimized since their arrival in Europe. Secondly 8 focus groups were conducted in which the research results were interpreted in the light of the development as well as pilot-testing of the prevention tool. The research results are described in the second chapter of the Final Report.
“The Prevention Diary” was developed in close collaboration with the beneficiaries, the community researchers and the CAB. The Prevention Diary has all its information in Arabic, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, Romani, Russian, Somali and Sorani in 1 volume. With extra funding, the Prevention Diary was printed on 26.000 copies and disseminated at the Seminar “Hidden violence is a Silent Rape” as well as to all new-coming asylum seekers, respondents, refugees and undocumented migrants in Belgium and the Netherlands. Downloadable in "Publications"
European Seminar "Hidden Violence is a Silent Rape: Prevention of SGBV against refugees in Europe": the 14th & 15th of February 2008, held at Het Pand in Ghent, was attended by 150 participants. The research results, the project method, and the prevention tool were presented and disseminated. 8 workshops were held in which 16 EU good practices were presented and discussed before policy, service and structural recommendations were formulated. These recommendations were presented to a panel of national and European policy makers as a call for action. An exhibition with quotes and design of the respondents was held throughout the seminar and a Café contact facilitated the networking and exchange of good practices and tools in Europe. The engagement was taken to set up transnational prevention projects together. The recommendations and a few posters with quotes used at the seminar are available in attachment. You can contact us if you would like to obtain the other posters.

The final report of this project: "Hidden Violence is a Silent Rape: Prevention of Sexual & Gender-based Violence against Refugees & Asylum Seekers in Europe: a Participatory Approach Report" is published. This report describes extensively all phases and actions in the project undertaken. Downloadable in "Publications"

Several awareness raising activities were undertaken: 8 leaflets, 13 lectures and many articles in newspapers and magazines addressing the general, scientific and policy making public were written.
A scientific article is being drafted.


Funding agencies

European Commission


ICRH, University of Ghent, Belgium; Movisie, the Netherlands; Nederlandstalige Vrouwenraad vzw, Belgium; Pharos, the Netherlands; Zijnvzw, Belgium; Tandem Communications, United Kingdom