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Somalia: Protection for victims of sexual violence

Help for victims of sexual violence

In Mother and Child residences, victims of sexual and physical violence find protection and counselling.

Eleven year old Hajiva Mohamed from Mogadishu. © Moore
Eleven year old Hajiva Mohamed from Mogadishu. © Moore
In Mother and Child residences in southern Somalia, affected women and their children can find protection and counselling.
In Mother and Child residences in southern Somalia, affected women and their children can find protection and counselling.
A colourful wall points out the offer for help to those seeking it.
A colourful wall points out the offer for help to those seeking it.
Not only female patients, but men and boys as well can be given medication here and can ask for a physical examination.
Not only female patients, but men and boys as well can be given medication here and can ask for a physical examination.

Since 2012, a new government has been in power in Somalia. The country’s population is exhausted from decades of civil wars and the great drought at the Horn of Africa when 258,000 were left dead.

Trying to escape from the fighting and in search of food and protection, numerous refugees in the past few years have arrived in the regions of Banaadir and Gedo in southern Somalia. Many of them have travelled long distances and are ill and wasted away. Children in particular are undernourished. People live in close quarters in refugee camps and flats. There are scarcely any safe havens for the weakest members of society: sexual and violent assaults on women and children are a daily occurrence.

Instead of receiving assistance, women and children are ignored or – what’s even worse - scorned. Women are disowned by their families and sometimes even forced to leave the community. Finding work that may at least help to secure an existence is difficult for these outcasts.

Scorned and disowned by their families

Jointly with its Alliance 2015 partnership organisation CESVI, Welthungerhilfe helps affected parties to come to terms with their traumatic experiences. In the regions of Banaadir and Gedo, currently 90,000 women and children have their needs looked after. To keep them safe and intensively cared for, three Mother and Child residences and three Safe Space centres have been established.

The Safe Space centres serve as safe havens and recovery retreats and offer protection from further acts of violence. Social workers counsel the victims and look after the children where the mothers or the children themselves have been the victims of violence. The Mother and Child residences are open to all members of society. Even men and boys can be examined by a doctor or vaccinated and also receive medications. Antenatal classes are offered for pregnant women.

An opportunity to get back into society

For the affected population living in remote areas and faced with difficulty coming to the facilities in the city there are mobile clinics on the road: automobiles that are equipped with medical instruments, medication and specialised staff. They can be flexibly put to use throughout the entire region. In order to give abused mothers and women another chance to return to society, capacity development is offered. There are courses for reading and writing as well as workshops to teach the basics for setting up small scale industries.  

The aid for women and children who have become victims of physical and sexual violence is jointly financed by the Federal Foreign Office, CESVI and Welthungerhilfe.

Refugees in Mali