Understanding Culture
Protecting Human Rights
A. Obaid

UNFPA Executive Director
Gender Equity Human Rights

Sierra Leone

Laying the groundwork

Starting off right
Bulding in sustainability
Caring for the individual
The "Whole" person
Safety nets
Service providers
Gaining support through advocacy
The Projects

Preserve confidentiality
The shame and social stigma attached to domestic and sexual violence keep it hidden from view. A sense of trustand strict confidentialitymust be established before survivors will be willing to acknowledge the violence that has occurred and to access services. Reluctance on the part of domestic violence victims in Romania to deal with the local police was attributed to the fact that their cases would suddenly move from a private to a public sphere. However, as service providers were trained in the importance of confidentiality, and victims gained trust, this reluctance to seek help diminished. A system for safeguarding information about clients was built into a management information system used to track cases. Similarly, the locations of shelters are kept secret to ensure the safety and security of those seeking refuge. In Mauritania, preserving confidentiality means that lawyers come to the crisis centre instead of victims going to them. The centre is also open to community members seeking treatment for simple ailments. This tends to reduce the stigma that would otherwise be associated with the centre if it were caring for rape survivors exclusively.


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