Assessment of sexual and gender based violence reporting procedures among refugees in camps in Dadaab, Kenya
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is universal phenomenon that has emotional impact on individuals, societies and nations. Prevalence in many refugee Camps is a case in point as incidence of SGBV are reportedly high in many camps. For example, approximately 250 incidence of rape were reported in many camps after the first six month when the 2010 earth quake occurred in Haiti.5 per 1,000 among women in Dadaab Refugee Camps in Kenya (the study site) reported rape incident monthly, besides, a study shows that females are not likely to have access to most essential rights compared to men in refugee setting. Likewise, camp situations expose female refugees to increased incidence of gender based violence and rights violation because of poor security in the refugee camp environments. Despite this statistics SGBV is vastly underreported. Few studies address the magnitude of reporting bias in existing estimates. The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of Sexual and Gender Based Violence reporting procedures among refugees in the refugee camps in Dadaab. The study was guided by the following three questions which are: How do culture and language affect Sexual and Gender Based Violence reporting among refugees in the refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya?, What is the level of awareness on the existing reporting procedures among the refugees in refugees’ camp in Dadaab, Kenya? What recommendation is needed to improve reporting of Sexual and Gender Based Violence? The study employed mixed methods involving both the qualitative as well as quantitative methods for data collection. These included surveys using interview schedule, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, direct field observation and literature review. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS while the qualitative data was analyzed with content analysis. The data was presented in frequency tables and figures according to the themes under the objectives of the study. Majority (78%) indicated that they were aware of the services offered by the various organizations on the SGBV in the refugee camps while 22% of the respondents were not aware of the services. This is an indication that NGOs in Dadaab used different methods of awareness-raising approaches to reach refugee communities on SGBV prevention as well as response. However the results show that despite high level of awareness SGBV cases are mostly reported to Maslaha courts and few are managed by the formal reporting procedures hence the awareness campaigns did not always translate to utilization of the existing formal reporting procedures. Overall majority of the respondent said language barrier is a problem when reporting and translators are not available.The findings suggest that language as well as the gender of the person at the reporting desk is key barrier to reporting of SGBV.Cultural factors such as the existence of Maslaha courts are also seen as barrier to formal reporting. Informed by qualitative data there seems to be parallel reporting procedures, one the formal system where Agencies and police play critical role and the traditional Maslaha system where elders decide how SGBV cases should be managed. This parallel system affects reporting of SGBV since there could be under-reporting which will under estimate the magnitude of SGBV in the camp as well as affect the response strategy of service providers. To have functional reporting system the researcher recommends that key actors in SGBV management such as the community as well as the service providers need to address how to overcome stigma, overcome factors such as language barrier by having Female translators at the reporting centers to enhance confidentiality, increase reporting of Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and foster partnerships between existing community structures and service providers working on SGBV, strengthen coordination across these groups to ensure a tighter network of services and care.