Rehabilitation services must include support for sexual and gender-based violence survivors in Ukraine and other war- and conflict-affected countries
By Rosemary Morgan, Lillian Asiimwe, Amanda L. Ager, Zuhra Haq, Linda Thumba and Diana Shcherbinina
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)—both during times of war and peace—can have impactful negative social and health outcomes. Reports of rape being used as an act of war in Ukraine are drawing global attention to the need for specialized care for SGBV survivors during times of war and thereafter. While data remain limited, in 3 November 2022, 7 million people in Ukraine were reported to need SGBV prevention and response services. Services offered by the government and civil society include a coordination centre of free legal aid, online and mobile platforms, chat-bots, hotlines, assistance centres, shelters, crisis rooms and mobile brigades. Rehabilitation services to support women and girls who have experienced SGBV during times of conflict and war, however, remain limited. We must make sure that our understanding of rehabilitation extends beyond providing physical modalities or recovery after surgery and that SGBV survivors are not excluded from necessary care. This is particularly important if we want to ensure that rehabilitation services are meeting the needs of the most vulnerable populations. We call on the international rehabilitation community to ensure the availability of and access to these vital life-changing services.
Read, “Rehabilitation Rehabilitation services must include support for sexual and gender-based violence survivors in Ukraine and other war- and conflict-affected countries,” in Health Policy and Planning