Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a prevalent human rights violation both globally and on the European level. SGBV has both physical and psychological forms, it includes domestic violence, sexual harassment and violence, harmful practices, exploitation and trafficking in human beings. Women and men, girls and boys and LGBTQI people can all become victims of such violence. 

PROTECT - Preventing sexual and gender-based violence against migrants and strengthening support to victims

The overall objective of the project was to strengthen the capacities of existing national support services for sexual and gender based violence to coordinate better and make these systems available for refugee, migrant and asylum seeker victims and potential victims of SGBV. The project also aims to raise awareness among and empower these communities.

The project has been implemented by 12 IOM country offices (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Spain) and eight NGO partners, Legebitra (Slovenia), Le monde selon les femmes abl (Belgium), Fundación EMET Arco Iris, Asociación Rumiñahui, Movimiento por la Paz (Spain), Arq Psychotrauma Expert Groep, Rutgers, and Pharos (Netherlands) between October 2018 and March 2020.

The project had the following specific objectives and activities which were implemented during its 18-month project cycle. Most of the activities are tailored to specific national context.

  1. Strengthen and adapt existing national support services for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to coordinate better and include refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers.
  2. Build capacity for professionals who work with and for refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers with the aim of identifying and addressing the needs of victims and potential victims of SGBV more effectively.
  3. Empower and inform refugee and migrant communities and asylum-seekers of SGBV and its prevention through a regional awareness-raising campaign.

Project produced the following outputs: 

  • SOPs/Guidelines developed / reviewed / contributed to in 8 countries
  • 120+ trainings organized over 12 countries
  • 13 000+ information materials distributed
  • 200+ information session organized on SGBV prevention

As part of the inception phase of the PROTECT project, national mapping exercises have been conducted by IOM country offices together with project partners in 12 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Spain) to map the existing legislative frameworks, available services to migrant victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to and identify the key gaps and challenges.

The complete  Mapping Report could be found at the: 



IOM Croatia organized sixteen capacity building trainings on SGBV and migration for first responders (border police, employees of the Ministry of the Interior and NGOs working in the Reception Centre), specialized service providers (social workers, psychologists, social pedagogists working in the Centers for Social Welfare, Home for Children, NGOs working with the victims of SGBV) and general service providers (teachers and other school and kindergarten employees, interpreters, various NGOs working with migrants) and reached 216 people. The trainings addressed sexual and gender-based violence in general, its context during migration and impact on the individual/migrant, intercultural difference, while the aim was to strengthen the capacity of the participants to provide the appropriate support and to guide survivors whilst taking care of themselves.

PROTECT Information Material

The PROTECT project developed country-specific information material on sexual and gender-based violence tailored to adults and children needs.

A two-minute animated film which explains SGBV, designed for migrant audiences, and with subtitles available in Croatian and 22 other languages is available here

Information material has been developed for each country where PROTECT is active.

The tailored material presents the services locally available and is accessible here in English, Arabic, Pashto, and Farsi. Information material on sexual and gender-based violence for adults.

English: HR leaflet adult ENG

Arabic: HR leaflet adult ARABIC

Pashto: HR leaflet adult PASHTO

Farsi: HR leaflet adult FARSI

Information material on sexual and gender-based violence for children:

English: HR leaflet children ENG

Arabic: HR leaflet children ARABIC

Pashto: HR leaflet children PASHTO

Farsi: HR leaflet children FARSI

The IOM Croatia organized info sessions in Reception Centre for International Protection Seekers in Zagreb, and Kutina, Schools enrolled by the refugee children, Dormitories in Zagreb, Split, Ivanec, and Zadar for unaccompanied minors aiming to raise awareness on sexual and gender-based violence among refugees, migrants and asylum seekers (children and adults) coming from different parts of the world. 150 migrants were reached by the info sessions.

Learn more about the project here:

For further information, please contact:  Ms Martina CAR,, +35 1 4816 882