Violence against women migrants and refugees: Analyzing causes and effective policy response

Topics: Gender-Based Violence; Sex, Gender and Health

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a major infringement of women’s human rights, and an obstacle to sustainable development as set out in the SDGs. SGBV against migrant and refugee women is widespread, but often remains invisible and under-analysed both in academic research and policy-making. This research will take an intersectional approach to understand SGBV in the context of migration, analysing the ways in which discriminations and inequalities based on gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and age, interact to make certain women more vulnerable to SGBV and less able to access support and services for survivors than others. SGBV may be exacerbated by policies aiming to restrict migration, or to increase control of borders, which can push women into adopting dangerous routes to arrive in their country of destination. Conflict and the risks of migration may also render women vulnerable to trafficking and sexual exploitation. Conditions of reception, and policies for integration in receiving countries may also lead to increased risk of SGBV for migrant and refugee women. But these women are not just “victims”, and their strategies and agency should also be explored. In sum while we know that female migrants and refugees are particularly exposed to violence we lack a systematic understanding of the underlying dynamics that (re)produce patterns of violence. It is this gap that the research seeks to fill in order to make policy recommendations for reducing these women’s vulnerability to SGBV and increasing their access to services.



Professor Jane Freedman, Université Paris 8, CRESPPA-GTM, France


France, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Ireland, Israel, Norway

Institutions involved

Université Paris 8, CRESPPA-GTM; National University of Ireland, Galway; University of Vienna; Saint Mary’s University, Canada; Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, University of Oslo; Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Science; Bar Ilan University, Israel.