Democratic Republic of the Congo Aide Humanitaire

Surviving gender-based violence in DRC

Since 2013, tens of thousands of Central Africans have fled their country and find refuge in the Northern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. ACTED implements protection interventions in Bondo territory, Bas-Uélé province, to support Central African refugees and asylum seekers, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In particular, ACTED contributes to preventing gender-based violence and supporting survivors, a complex process in this landlocked territory of the DRC that requires both urgent actions and longstanding support to strengthen resilience.

In DRC, women are still struggling to establish gender-based violence as a reality

Certain acts of GBV are not always recognised as such.

GBV can take many forms, whether it be sexual, physical or psychological and is complicated by the individual context of each act.

At present, both conflict and displacement are commonly recognised as circumstances which increase rates of GBV. However, clearly, GBV occurs at the everyday level; in conjugal, intra-family or community violence. Certain community practices and beliefs, such as forced marriage, equality at school or at work, or domestic abuse, are yet to be fully acknowledged as for their status as GBV.


Gender-based violence takes many forms depending on the socially prescribed differences between men and women: rape, sexual assault, physical assault, forced marriage, denial of resources, opportunities or services, and psychological and emotional violence.

Information and Awareness in Prevention

ACTED organizes awareness campaigns, theatre performances, radio broadcasts and advocacy actions aimed at informing and gaining a better understanding of forms of GBV, factors and consequences for the victim, his or her entourage and the community at large.In collaboration with refugee and host communities, ACTED has set up local protection committees. These community structures act as protection relays for the prevention of and response to gender-based violence.The community elected five joint committees. The training and monitoring provided by ACTED enables them to inform, identify and document incidents of gender-based violence, refer victims and provide initial psychosocial care and follow-up through a referral mechanism, particularly when it comes to sexual violence.


A muti-stakeholder mechanism to respond to GBV

The referencing mechanism involves several actors. It is composed of health, justice, protection and socio-economic reintegration structures.While there are many health centres, police stations, courts and schools in the Bondo territory, their resources are limited and access for victims remains complex. UNHCR and its partners, including ACTED, are working to strengthen this mechanism through: support for medical care, creation of health infrastructure, support for education and vocational training, legal and judicial advice, protection and psychosocial activities. 


Comprehensive follow-up for the victims of violence

ACTED monitors victims of GBV. In concrete terms, this means directing and accompanying the persons concerned to support services, but also providing psychosocial or psychological follow-up.

ACTED intervenes both urgently and on community resilience in the longer term, actively involving communities, government structures and humanitarian actors to better prevent violence, rescue victims and mitigate the consequences of these acts.