Gender based violence and child protection against Syrian Refugees in Jordan, with a focus on early marriage. Interagency assessment

UN Women launches the findings of a new study on violence and a programme for Syrian women refugees who have fled to neighbouring Jordan since the beginning of the uprising. The programme aims to increase their access to comprehensive, life-saving protection including health, psychosocial and legal services. The report finds that rates of early marriage are strikingly high (one-third are married as children), that restrictions on the mobility of women and girls limit their access to work and aid supplies, and that an alarming 83% of Syrian refugees did not know of any services available in their community for survivors of violence. Since humanitarian relief was initially directed towards refugees based in the Za’atri refugee camp (now home to more than 100,000), this GBV assessment concentrates on other communities, where two-thirds of Syrian refugees are currently residing. 

The findings are based on data collected through questionnaires distributed to 613 refugees including women, girls, boys and men from different households; 34 focus group discussions held in all regions; and 45 in-depth interviews with key informants, community leaders and service providers from all regions. The report finds widespread child marriage – more than 33 per cent of participants were married when they were still children, and half of all respondents believed that the normal age of marriage for girls is under 18.

The report concludes that the longer the situation of displacement is prolonged, the greater the likelihood of higher rates of child labour for boys and early marriage for girls.

 The report, led by UN Women in partnership with the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development and The Queen Zein Al-Sharaf Institute for Development (JOHUD/ ZENID), was commissioned by a joint UN task force, which also includes the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in addition to partner organizations Save the Children International, the International Rescue Committee, the Jordanian Women’s Union, and Un Ponte Per (UPP).

Published 2013-07-15

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