Youth Preventing Sexual and Gander Based Violence (SGBV) Issue

What is gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations within all societies. Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience gender-based violence but the majority of victims are women and girls.


Girls and young women often experience violence at home, from physical punishment to sexual, emotional or psychological violence. Acceptance of violence as a ‘private affair’ often prevents others from intervening and prohibits girls and young women from reporting. School and the journey to it can also be a place where girls experience violence, from sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation. This violation of girls’ rights, especially when committed by those in positions of care or authority, can impact on girls’ ability to continue and complete their education. In both cities and rural areas, violence against women and girls in public spaces and on public transport is sadly not uncommon. Fear and threats of violence and harassment limit girls’ capacity to lead a free and full life. During emergency situations, girls are also at heightened risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and abuse. Gender-based violence is also a rising issue in online spaces, with girls and young women reporting harassment and abuse. For many girls, there is pressure to leave online platforms, or self-censor to avoid abuse. This puts the onus on girls to change their behaviour, rather than the perpetrators and must be challenged.


Violence is not a private matter – it must be uncovered in order for it to be challenged. Ending gender-based violence will involve action at all levels: challenging social norms that condone violence or impose gender roles; strengthening legislation to criminalise violence, and prosecuting the perpetrators. It’s vital for children to learn about gender-equality at school, just as it's important to promote intergenerational dialogue on violence against children. Community dialogue can challenge the attitudes towards punishment and dominance that perpetuate gender-based violence. We must all promote and strengthen values that support non-violent, respectful, nurturing, positive, gender-equitable relationships for all children and adolescents, including the most vulnerable and excluded.

Key points

Anyone can become a survivor of SGBV: women, men, girls, boys, of every age and background.

Initiate SGBV prevention and response programming from the start of an emergency, whether or not cases have been reported.

Do not forget to include men and boys when you work with communities on SGBV prevention.

Put aside your cultural and other biases and assumptions with regard to SGBV (including assumptions about traditional practices).

2019 Annual Report, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, North-East Nigeria

Prevention, Risk Mitigation and Multi-Sectoral Response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) remains a crucial intervention to promote a favorable protection environment for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnee women, men, boys and girls in North-East Nigeria.

The cycle of instability due to the insurgency and security operations in northeast Nigeria keeps adding to the serious challenges faced by the affected population, including SGBV incidents, abductions and killings and is seriously undermining the humanitarian protection and assistance programs.

To effectively respond to SGBV in such a complex situation, the actors need robust humanitarian interventions to improve the protection environment and livelihoods for persons of concern. I am convinced that only joint and well-coordinated interventions from all stakeholders to support the efforts of the Nigerian government to end SGBV will substantially impact the lives of persons of concern to UNHCR.

This 2019 report seeks to highlight UNHCR’s contribution towards Prevention, Risk Mitigation and Multi Sectoral responses to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in northeast Nigeria, the epicentre of the 10-year-old insurgency.

In line with the 2019 Inter-Agency Strategic objectives on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), this report also presents UNHCR’s commitment to the Nigerian Call to Action on protection from Sexual and Gender Based Violence in emergencies.

In 2019, UNHCR scaled up its SGBV interventions in Adamawa State (Yola and Mubi), Borno state (Bama, Ngala, Pulka, Banki, Damasak and Maiduguri Metropolitan Council) and adopted new strategies/approaches to preventing SGBV and to promote community engagement through projects such as the Zero Tolerance Village Alliance (ZTVA), The peer to peer education strategy and male engagement.

Furthermore, UNHCR established the “Integrated Women and girl safe spaces” in northeast Nigeria as part of the multisectoral response to address legal, psychosocial, security, material needs of the vulnerable women and girls including SGBV survivors.

I am pleased to share with you the 2019 UNHCR report on SGBV Interventions in northeast Nigeria.

This report provides an overview of the SGBV-operational context, protection needs, as well as the SGBV key figures in terms of achievements. The report also provides an analysis of SGBV trends in 2019 based on age, sex and typology to inform further preventive actions.

My sincere appreciation to colleagues and partners who continue to ensure prevention, risk mitigation and multi-sectoral response to SGBV incidences and render valuable support to survivors of SGBV, including projects to restart their lives.