Migrants, Applicants of International Protection and Refugees (MAR) are at high risk of sexual victimization (SV) prior to but also upon arrival in Europe. Adopting an integrated and holistic approach (i.e. encompassing forensic, medical and psychosocial care) from detection to follow-up has been recognized as the best care for all SV victims, including victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. However, the access to holistic care for MAR victims is hampered by a broad range of barriers.
Health care providers, law enforcement officials and cultural mediators/interpreters working with MAR victims of sexual violence, often lack the specialist knowledge, language skills and tools to provide and/or refer to inclusive holistic care to MAR SV victims. Capacity building of key professionals working with vulnerable MAR victims of SV/ST through tailored tools and by streamlining care pathways between professions is thus urgently needed.
With a consortium composing of Ghent University-ICRH/CESSMIR (BE), the Belgian Federal Service of Public Health (BE), Payoke (BE), Victim Support Europe (EU), NHS The Havens (UK) and the Irish Department of Justice (IE), that is supported by international experts from a.o. EFPA, PICUM, CESAR and IEWM, we aim to improve holistic care for MAR victims of SV, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation and/or legal status by strengthening the capacity of multi-sector professionals (see below). We pay specific attention to make care pathways inclusive for MAR victims who are male, LGBTQIA+ and/or victims of trafficking. To this end we apply a highly participatory research approach.
INHeRE’s specific objectives are:
- Building capacity and enhancing culturally/diversity-competent practices of 5 key professional groups (see below) working with MAR through online and onsite training.
- Aligning national policies with EU regulations and guidelines for safe reporting of SV regardless of legal status.
- Bridging competencies, practices and policies across professions in order to streamline care pathways.
The project ran from November 2019 till October 2021.