Prevalence, Forms, and Patterns of Violence against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Emergencies: A Mixed Methods Study in South Sudan

Due to the lack of population-based surveys that accurately characterize the extent of the different types of violence that women and girls suffer in South Sudan, this study was conducted as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research program, with the following aims:

  1. improve, adapt, apply and disseminate appropriate methodological approaches to determining prevalence, forms and patterns of violence against women and girls in conflict contexts; and
  2. obtain data  specific to South Sudan that will inform policy and programming from national government, local and international NGOs, and the wider international community.

Using mixed- methodology, this study consisted of survey-based interviews with a total sample  size of 3,000 (men and women older than 15 years) as well as key informant interviews with service providers, humanitarian personnel, community leaders and others. This research sought to gather information on different types of violence as well as understand the existing structures, systems and interventions that respond to and prevent violence in order to understand how they impacted on the experience of violence against women and girls and how this may inform existing and future interventions.

Key findings include:

  • Prevalence of violence against women and girls is among the highest in the world across all study locations. South Sudanese women and girls are subjected to violence throughout their lifetime.
  • Intimate partner violence was the most common form of violence reported by women and girls.
  • While at least half of the women and girls in the Protection of Civilians sites and almost 60% in Juba City had experienced intimate partner violence during their lifetime, in Rumbek intimate partner violence was experienced by almost 75% of women.
  • For women and girls in South Sudan, there is a direct relationship between experiences of conflict and its effect on prevalence of violence against women and girls, including intimate partner violence.
  • Survivors of violence in South Sudan often do not seek help from either formal or informal structures, or are unable to access these services.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.