Reports on Gender-based Violence

Mean Streets: Identifying and Responding to Urban Refugees' Risks of Gender-Based Violence

Mean Streets: Identifying and Responding to Urban Refugees' Risks of Gender-Based Violence thumbnail
An increasing majority of refugees live in cities and they face gender-based violence risks as a result of unmet needs and intersecting oppressions based on gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability among others. This new reality necessitates a monumental shift in humanitarian response.

A deeper understanding of the nuances and complexities of urban risks is essential to addressing violence and bridging the protection gaps affecting marginalized groups who have been traditionally overlooked in humanitarian response. Protecting refugees with heightened risks – women, adolescent girls, LGBTI individuals, persons with disabilities, sex workers and male survivors of sexual violence – requires innovative, tailored programming and outreach. 


  1. Systematize and broaden engagement of local actors.
  2. Develop proactive, targeted strategies for addressing GBV risks related to shelter and livelihoods.
  3. Prioritize, and earmark resources for, targeted actions and proactive outreach tailored to meet the needs of different at-risk subpopulations.
  4. Formalize non-discrimination and standards of care for engaging all refugee subpopulations, put accountability mechanisms in place for UNHCR partners, and take a proactive approach to eliminating discrimination.

Full Report

An analysis of the unique protection challenges and opportunities afforded by urban settings, including the risks specific to different groups.

Executive Summary

And overview recommendations to mitigate GBV risks for urban refugees


Women face a variety of GBV risks in their daily lives – physical, sexual, emotional, and economic. They learn to cope with – or structure their movements around – the gender discrimination already entrenched in those societies.

Children and Adolescents

For children and adolescent refugees, GBV risks take on new dimensions in urban settings -- within the home, at school, and while working.

LGBTI Refugees

LGBTI refugees face higher levels of discrimination and violence, yet little attention has been paid to their GBV risks and what humanitarian actors can do to help mitigate them.

Refugees Engaged in Sex Work

There is little practical guidance to appropriately address the protection needs of refugees who sell sex and little knowledge about how to present them with specialized information, services, and referral options.

Persons with Disabilities

There are significant gaps in evidence around effective strategies for GBV risk mitigation for refugees with disabilities in urban settings. Stigmatization, discrimination and isolation increase their risks.

Men, Boys, and Male Survivors of Gender-based Violence

Evidence suggests that men and boys are more at risk in urban environments than camps, and that male survivors are likely to migrate to urban centers to find medical care and anonymity.


These tools, currently in pilot form, help practitioners to assess and respond to urban refugees' risks of gender-based violence.

  • Modified: Monday, March 13, 2017
  • Published: