Sexual and gender based violence in the refugee crisis: from displacement to arrival (SEREDA)

The Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham is leading the SEREDA Project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, Volkswagen Stiftung and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond through the Europe and Global Challenges Initiative.

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) against refugees is a global challenge that demands urgent attention given the scale of forced displacement, and a problem at the nexus of three global challenges identified by the Europe and Global Challenges programme: global health, migration and social inequality.

The SEREDA Project is a major new research initiative that is being undertaken across the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden and Turkey by a multi-country research team from the University of Birmingham, University of Melbourne, Uppsala University and Bilkent University.  The Project uses a social constructivist framework to understand the incidence and nature of SGBV experienced by women, men and child refugees who have fled conflict in the Levant Region. 

 

Project overview

The past few years have seen the forced displacement of people from around the world on an unprecedented scale.   Sexual and gender based violence has been a key feature of the experience of forced migrants yet one which has attracted little attention from policymakers and practitioners.  Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) includes rape and sexual assault, as well as physical, psychological or emotional violence; forced marriage; forced sex work; and denial of resources, opportunities, services and freedom of movement on the basis of socially ascribed gender roles and norms. 

 

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The SEREDA Project aims to understand the nature and incidence of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) experienced by refugees who have fled conflict and are residing in countries of refuge. The study has a number of phases which include interviewing forced migrants (whether documented or not) who have experience SGBV about what they feel needs to happen, interviewing “stakeholders” who work with survivors and running some workshops to explore potential recording mechanisms and recommendations for interventions at different stages in the journey.

The SEREDA project is focusing initially on refugees originating from the MENA region but is exploring the possibility of expansion to include refugees originating beyond this region. The research will increase understanding of the incidence and nature of sexual and gender-based violence experienced by refugees, to strengthen mechanisms for recognising and recording the extent of sexual and gender-based violence, and for providing appropriate responses – particularly within countries of refuge. The project will examine how the health and social consequences of sexual and gender-based violence are identified and treated, and how they shape inequalities in life chances in different countries of refuge and as refugees seek to integrate.

The project is being conducted in partnership with national and international NGOs providing services and support to refugees who have experienced violence, including the Women’s Refugee Commission, Doctors of the World, Foundation House and the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM).

Funders

Wellcome_Trust_logo_200x200Europe and Global Challenges Programme 

This funding initiative encourages European and international researchers to work together on important global issues. 

2_1_Logo_500px_neuVolkswagen Stiftung 

This funding initiative encourages European and international researchers to work together on important global issues. 

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond logoRiksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) 

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) is an independent foundation with the goal of promoting and supporting research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. RJ supports interdisciplinary research with an international impact and promotes the free mobility for researchers on an international level and between universities. 

People

Researchers from the University of Birmingham

Jenny Phillimore, Professor of Migration and Superdiversity

Professor Jenny Phillimore
Founding Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity
Professor of Migration and Superdiversity

Professor Jenny Phillimore is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and of the RSA.  Her research interests span refugee integration with a particular focus on gender, health, housing and social networks and access to healthcare in superdiverse neighbourhoods.  She has led multiple research projects for funders including the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the European Union, the Home Office and research foundations.  She frequently appears in the media discussing superdiversity and integration and has advised Governments in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe.  Jenny has published widely in leading academic journals such asSocial Science and Medicine, BMJ, Urban Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Policy and Politics and Journal of Social Policy

She currently leads two major international projects: Welfare Bricolage examining healthcare seeking behaviours and provision in superdiverse areas (Norface) and SEREDA exploring refugees resilience and vulnerability to sexual and gender based violence in the refugee crisis (Europe and Global Challenges). 

Lisa Goodson

Dr Lisa Goodson
Lecturer, Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, School of Social Policy

Dr Lisa Goodson co-ordinates social policy research modules at post graduate level as well as teaching and tutoring on undergraduate modules in new migration. She is a major contributor to the PG degree programme in Migration, Superdiversity and Policy.  Lisa has been at the forefront of research exploring the experiences and consequences of migration in the UK and Europe. Common themes that cut across her research and teaching on migration issues include: integration and cohesion, poverty and social exclusion, gender and health, and approaches to welfare provision for migrants in an age of super-diversity. Lisa specialises in qualitative research methodologies and has extensive experience working with a range of community groups. Her work with excluded communities has led to the development of an accredited community research training programme which is a core workstream within the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) of which Lisa is a founder member.  This programme aims to develop a longitudinal repository of data on superdiversity and extend the impact of the work undertaken by IRiS. 

She been Principal Investigator on a range of research projects sponsored by a wide range of funders including the European Union, Urban Land Institute, Volkswagen Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust, research councils, local and national Governments, charitable trusts and statutory agencies.

Hoayda Darkal

Hoayda Darkal
Research Fellow, School of Social Policy
Researcher, Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS)

Hoayda's research interests start in the field of household economics, childcare, and expand to resilience, Arab refugees, refugee families, and forced displacement. Before moving to the University of Birmingham she was a research assistant in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Plymouth and worked on an ESRC-AHRC project titled: ”Syrian Artisan Entrepreneurship Project”. She is also completing a PhD on the Resilience of Arab Refugee Families in Plymouth. She has a ResM in Human Geography from the University of Plymouth (2013) and a BSc in Agricultural Engineering from Damascus University (2008).

Researchers from partner institutions

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Professor Hannah Bradby
Uppsala University, Sweden

Hannah Bradby has been Professor at the Sociology Department, Uppsala University, Sweden since 2013, having previously held a senior lectureship at the University of Warwick, UK. Her research interrogates the links between identity, structure and health with particular reference to racism, ethnicity and religion. Hannah blogs for ‘The Cost of Living’ and is Speciality Chief Editor for Medical Sociology at the open access Sociology Frontiers journal.  Together with Professor Sandra Torres, Hannah leads the Research Group on Welfare and Lifecourse, established in 2012 at Uppsala University’s Sociology Department, bringing together over twenty researchers of healthcare and welfare.

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Professor Bernadette McSherry
Melbourne Social Equity Institute, UoM

Professor Bernadette McSherry is the Foundation Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor in the Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Law, Monash University. She has a BA(Hons), LLB(Hons), LLM from the University of Melbourne, a PhD from York University in Canada and a Grad Dip Psych from Monash University. She has published widely in the fields of mental health law and criminal law. In 2011, she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. In 2016, she was awarded The Mental Health Services (TheMHS) Award for Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Services.

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Dr Cathy Vaughan
Centre for Women’s Health, Gender & Society, Faculty of Medicine, Dental and Health Sciences, UoM

Dr Cathy Vaughan is a Senior Lecturer (Gender and Women’s Health), and Acting Head of the Gender and Women’s Health Unit, at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Cathy leads research on gendered health inequalities and violence against women in diverse settings, working primarily with migrant and refugee women, women with disabilities, and young people. 

Current and recent research projects include examining refugee and migrant women's experience of violence and accessing violence-response services in Australia; exploring the role of settlement services in responding to violence against refugee women; participatory action research to understand the role of faith leaders and faith communities in preventing violence against women; and work to build national capacity to measure the prevalence of violence against women in Asia and the Pacific. Cathy also leads the Melbourne Social Equity Institute’s university-wide programme on community-engaged research.

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Dr Karen Block
Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Team, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, UoM

Dr Karen Block is Associate Director of the Evidence and Child Health Unit in the Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. She coordinates the Melbourne Social Equity Institute’s PhD program in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and is Deputy Director of Researchers for Asylum Seekers.

Karen works on a range of projects involving refugee-background young people, women and families. Her research focuses on social inclusion, health inequalities, gender-based violence, evaluating complex interventions and working in collaborative partnerships with communities and community-based organisations. 

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Dr Saime Ozcurumez
Bilkent University, Turkey  

Dr Saime Ozcurumez (Ph.D., McGill) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Bilkent University. She was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University (2015-2016) during her sabbatical, where she conducted research on the resilience of health care systems in Turkey in response to mass influx of refugees from Syria. She has been part of many international and national collaborative research projects on cultural diversity and health care systems; livelihood conditions of refugees, social cohesion and international protection and psychosocial support services for refugee populations. She is the founding Director of Human Mobility Processes and Interactions Research Lab at the Faculty of Economic, Administrative and Social Sciences at Bilkent University. 

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Dr Selin Akyüz
Bilkent University, Turkey 

Dr Selin Akyüz obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the Department of Political Science at Bilkent University and her Master’s degree from the Department of Political Science at Hacettepe University. She completed her doctoral studies in 2012 in the Department of Political Science at Bilkent University. During 2014-2015 academic year, she conducted her post-doctoral research on gendered perceptions of migration at University of Oxford, International Gender Studies Centre at Lady Margaret Hall. Dr. Akyüz involved in national and international research projects on gender, empowerment, human rights and migration. Her major research interests are critical studies on men and masculinities, gender studies and migration. 

PhD researchers

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Sara Alsaraf
University of Birmingham, UK

Sara is a psychiatrist and creative arts therapist. She has worked in the NHS since qualifying as a doctor. As a psychotherapist, she facilitates creative therapeutic groups for people who have suffered trauma or marginalisation. Whilst working with people who had been trafficked, she developed an interest in migrants' experience of healthcare during the refugee journey and resettlement. She is interested in how the many layers of gender based violence, from personal to structural, affect the person and in holistic, survivor-centered responses. 

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Sian Thomas
University of Birmingham, UK

Siân is a doctoral student focusing on access to justice in relation to sexual and gender-based violence in the refugee journey. She has MA degrees in Social Work and in Human Rights, and a postgraduate diploma in Social Research. Siân’s professional experience has included work with refugees and undocumented migrants, victims of trafficking, and survivors of torture and other human rights violations. Siân is a registered social worker and currently teaches on qualifying social work programmes, with a particular focus on practice skills, gender-based violence and comparative research. Her previous research has focused on migration, diversity and child welfare.

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Sandra Pertek
University of Birmingham, UK

Sandra's research focuses on the relationship between SGBV and faith/religion from an intersectional perspective and how faith-based interventions can be a resource in addressing SGBV in the refugee context. Before she served as Senior Policy Adviser on Gender at Islamic Relief Worldwide, one of the world’s largest Muslim humanitarian agencies, where she developed gender and GBV policies and led global gender integration strategy into humanitarian and development programmes, training, research and advocacy initiatives. She coordinated pilot GBV projects in several regions funded by institutional donors and represented gender faith voice at international platforms. As a gender justice activist, she is a member of several networks for gender, religion and development. She holds an MSc in Social Development Practice from University College London and a BA in European Studies from University of Warsaw.

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Hala Nasr
University of Melbourne

Hala Nasr is a gender-based violence responder and advocate, whose past work in Aotearoa, New Zealand (NZ) has included working within a feminist women’s refuge supporting African, Middle Eastern and African migrant and refugee women survivors of domestic and family violence, as well as as implementing the NZ Defence Force’s Operation Respect – a project geared to ending sexual violence in the military – in the Navy, Airforce and Army bases in the Northern region. She is currently conducting her PhD at the University of Melbourne with a focus on responses to gender-based violence in refugee settings.

Publications

Phillimore, J. and Goodson, L. (in press) Delivering social welfare in the age of superdiversity.  London: Routledge.

Akyüz, Selin, (forthcoming), “When Syrian ‘Girls’ meet Turkish ‘Boys’: Mapping Gendered Stories of Mixed Marriages”, Middle East Critique, (with Özgün Tursun)

Bailey, I. and Darkal, H., 2018. (Not) talking about justice: the unspoken challenges of integrating energy and environmental justice in renewable energy siting. Local Environment. 23(3), 335-351.

Pertek, S.I, Sharifa, A. (2018) Don’t Force Me, A policy brief on early and forced marriage, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Birmingham. Available at:
http://www.islamic-relief.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/FORCED-MARRIAGE-CSW62.pdf (Accessed 13 June 2018)

Surti A., Pertek S.I. (2018) Lessons learnt from Somali Regional State of Ethiopia: Combating Gender-based Violence against Women and Girls in Dekasuftu Woreda. Faith inspired action to end GBV. Islamic Relief Worldwide. (Accessed 10 May 2018)

Phillimore, J., Humphris, R. & Khan, K. (2017) Reciprocity for new migrant integration: resource conservation, investment and exchange.  Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

Bronitt, S. and McSherry, B. (2017) Principles of Criminal Law. Sydney: Thomson Reuters (1,041 pages)

Goodson, L. and Grzymala-Kazlowska, A. (2017) Researching migration in a superdiverse society: challenges, methods, concerns and promises. Sociological Research Online 22(1), February 2017. DOi: 10.5153/sro.4168

Hannah Bradby, Kristin Liabo, Anne Ingold and Helen Roberts ‘Visibility, resilience, vulnerability in young migrants’. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine online first pp1-18
DOI: 10.1177/1363459317739441 (2017)

Hannah Bradby 'Taking story seriously’, Social Theory and Health, 15(2): 206-222. doi:10.1057/s41285-017-0028-3 (2017)

Dunne Breen M., Easteal P., Holland K., Sutherland G., Vaughan C. (2017). Exploring Australian journalism discursive practices in reporting rape: the pitiful predator and the silent victim. Discourse and Communication, 11(3): 241-258

Ozcurumez,S. and Yıldırım, D.  "Syrians under Temporary Protection, health services and NGOs in Turkey: the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants and the Turkish Medical Association" In Scott L. Greer, Matthias Wismar, Gabriele Pastorino, and Monika Kosinska (eds), Civil Society and Health: Contributions and Potential, Copenhagen (Denmark): European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies; (2017).

Almugahed, N., Pertek, S. I., Fida, N. (2017) An integrated approach to gender-based violence and child protection: Key findings from Mali, Niger and Pakistan, Islamic Relief, Birmingham. Available at: http://www.islamic-relief.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/An-Integrated-Approach-to-GBV-and-CP_WEB.pdf (Accessed 13 June 2018)

Nasr, H. (2017). Gender Justice and the Politics of Sexual Harassment in Cairo. In Women, Urbanization and Sustainability (pp. 221-245). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Humphris, R., & Bradby, H. Health Status of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Europe. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health (eds) David V. McQueen and David Ashton. Retrieved 17 Oct. 2017, from http://publichealth.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190632366.001.0001/acrefore-9780190632366-e-8

Hannah Bradby ‘Medical migration and the global politics of equality’ pp 491-507 in The Edinburg Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities (eds) Anne Whitehead, Angela Woods, Sarah Atkinson, Jane Macnaughton and Jennifer Richards. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. (2016)

Cheung, S. & Phillimore, J. (2016) Gender and refugee integration: a quantitative analysis of integration and social policy outcomes.  Journal of Social Policy

Block, K. (2016). Marginalised Populations. In H. Keleher & C. MacDougal (Eds.), Understanding Health (Fourth ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Vaughan C., Devine A., Ignacio R., Lacsamana W., Marco MJ. Zayas J., Sobritchea C.  2016. Building capacity for a disability-inclusive response to violence against women and girls: experience from the W-DARE project in the Philippines.  Gender and Development, 24(2): 245-260  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13552074.2016.1194031

Ozcurumez, S. and Yetkin Aker, D. “What moves the highly skilled and Why? Comparing Turkish Nationals in Canada and Germany” International Migration, 54(3),61-72, (2016). 

Akyüz, Selin, (2016), “‘Overcome Your Anger If You Are a Man’: Silencing Women’s Agency to Voice Violence Against Women” Women’s Studies International Forum, 56. (with Feyda Sayan-Cengiz)

Pertek, S.I. (2016) Gender Study: Conditional Cash Project for Vulnerable Syrian and Jordanian Children in Irbid, Jordan. Islamic Relief Worldwide. Birmingham. Available at http://www.islamic-relief.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Irbid-Case-Study.pdf (Accessed 13 June 2018)

Phillimore, J. (2015) 'Migrant maternity in an era of superdiversity: new migrants' access to, and experience of, antenatal care in the West Midlands, UK,' Social Science & Medicine, Available online 25 November 2015, ISSN 0277-9536

Vaughan, C., Murdolo, A., Murray, L., Davis, E., Chen, J., Block, K., Quiazon, R., & Warr, D. (2015). ASPIRE:  A multi-site community-based participatory research project to increase understanding of the dynamics of violence against immigrant and refugee women in Australia. BMC Public Health, 15

Pertek, S.I. (2015) Gender Justice Policy, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Birmingham. Available at: http://www.islamic-relief.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Gender-policy.pdf (Accessed 13 June 2018)

Darkal, H., (2014). Heather E Bullock, Women and poverty: Psychology, public policy, and social justice. Feminism & Psychology, p.0959353514549298.

Ozcurumez, S. and Yetkin, D. “Limits to Regulating Irregular Migration in Turkey: What constrains public policy and why?”, Turkish Studies, 15(3), 442-457, (2014).

Akyüz, Selin, (2014), “Gendered Insecurities: Refugee Camps in Southeastern Turkey”, Journal of Conflict Transformation and Security, Vol. 4 no.1-2,(with Bezen Balamir-Coşkun)

Block, K.,Riggs, E., & Haslam, N. (Eds.). (2013). Values and vulnerabilities: The Ethics of research with refugees and asylum seekers Brisbane: Australian Academic Press 

Goodson, L. and Phillimore, J. (2012) Community research for community participation: from theory to method. Bristol: Policy Press.

Ozcurumez, S. and Wylie, L. “Strategies for Change among Institutional and Societal Actors” (with L. Wylie), in Migrants and Health: Political and Institutional Responses to Cultural Diversity in Health Systems (Edited by Christiane Falge, Carlo Ruzza and Oliver Schmidtke), pp. 139-176, Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, (2012).

Ozcurumez, S. and Senses, N. “Europeanisation & Turkey: Studying Irregular Migration Policy”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 13(2), 233-248, (2011).

McSherry, B. and Kneebone, S. (2008) “Trafficking in Women and Forced Migration: Moving Victims Across the Border of Crime into the Domain of Human Rights” The International Journal of Human Rights 12(1): 67‑87.

Bernadette McSherry, (2007) “Trafficking in Persons: A Critical Analysis of the New Criminal Code Offences“ Current Issues in Criminal Justice 18(3): 385‑398.

Working Paper Series

Phillimore, J., Pertek, S. and Alidu, L. (2018) Sexual and gender-based violence and refugees. The impacts of and on integration domains, IRiS Working Paper Series, No. 31/2019, Birmingham: Institute for Research into Superdiversity 

Block, K., Nasr, H., Vaughan, C. and Alsaraf, S. (2018) What responses, approaches to treatment, and other supports are effective in assisting refugees who have experienced sexual and gender-based violence?, IRiS Working Paper Series, No. 30/2019, Birmingham: Institute for Research into Superdiversity

Thomas, S., Darkal, H. and Goodson, B. (2018) Monitoring and reporting incidents of sexual and gender-based violence across the refugee journey, IRiS Working Paper Series, No. 29/2019, Birmingham: Institute for Research into Superdiversity

Simon-Butler, A. and McSherry, B. (2018) Defining Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Refugee Context, IRiS Working Paper Series, No. 28/2018, Birmingham: Institute for Research into Superdiversity

Ozcurumez, S., Bradby, H. and Akyuz, S. (2018) What is the nature of SGBV?, IRiS Working Paper Series, No. 27/2019, Birmingham: Institute for Research into Superdiversity

 

 

NGOs Partners

wrc_logo-200Women’s Refugee Commission

The Women's Refugee Commission improves the lives and protects the rights of women, children and youth displaced by conflict and crisis. We research their needs, identify solutions and advocate for programs and policies to strengthen their resilience and drive change in humanitarian practice. Since our founding in 1989, they have been a leading expert on the needs of refugee women and children, and the policies that can protect and empower them. 

doctors_of_the_world-200x200Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World is an independent humanitarian movement working at home and abroad to empower excluded people to access healthcare. Through 400 programmes in 80 countries run by more than 3,000 volunteers we provide medical care, strengthen health systems and address underlying barriers to healthcare.

Many people living in the UK find it impossible to access mainstream health services, despite being fully entitled to them, due to fear, not knowing the system, having to pay charges or being wrongly turned away by frontline healthcare staff. 

Resized_FOUNDATION-HOUSE 200x200Foundation House

The Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture (Foundation House) provides services to advance the health, wellbeing and human rights of people of refugee backgrounds in Victoria.

Foundation House services to clients include counselling, advocacy, family support, group work, psycho-education, and complementary therapies. It also supports capacity building within communities; provides professional and organisational development, consultancy and resources to support capacity building in health, education, employment and other community services and sectors; works with the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to ensure that policies and programs have proper regard to the needs of people of refugee backgrounds; and conducts and contributes to research. 

qk0r2f1s-200The Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM)

For more than 20 years, ASAM has dedicated itself to create solutions to the problems that refugees and asylum seekers encounter in Turkey, to help them to fulfill their primary needs and to support them to provide access for fundamental rights and services. Since its establishment, ASAM has been providing psycho-social support for asylum seekers and refugees coming from conflict zones.The main vision of ASAM is to create a place where all asylum seekers and migrants can enjoy their rights and services and live in a harmony with the host community. ASAM strives for creating a safe place and ensuring well-being for asylum seekers and refugees. ASAM has been partnering with UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, IOM, WHO, GIZ, Norwegian Refugee Council, The World Bank, and, Danish Refugee Council.

  • Find out more about ASAM

News and blogs

Posted 15 March 2019

Putting gender on the agenda in the refugee "crisis"

Violence, insecurity, persecution, and human rights violations have led to the forced displacement of an estimated 68.5 million people. Of these, 25.4 million are refugees – the highest number ever recorded.

Posted 08 March 2019

Putting gender on the agenda in the refugee "crisis"

Professor Jenny Phillimore writes: "Today, on International Women's Day, we have launched a series of working papers focusing on some of the key aspects of the gendered refugee experience."

Contact us

For any enquiries regarding the SEREDA Project please contact:

Ann Bolstridge, 
Institute for Research Into Superdiversity, 
School of Social Policy, 
University of Birmingham

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 4967
Email: sereda@contacts.bham.ac.uk 
Twitter: @sereda_IRiS