2. Executive Summary
Since the start of the Syria crisis in early 2011, Jordan has been one of the countries most affected by the crisis, with hundreds of thousands of Syrians seeking asylum within its borders. The 2019 GBV IMS Annual Report highlights that GBV remains a pertinent protection issue in Jordan, affecting refugees and the host community alike. Women and girls remain disproportionately affected, with over 95% of reported cases involving female survivors, although it is likely that incidents perpetrated against men and boys are under-reported due to the stigma of violence against male survivors. The threat of GBV has been further heightened by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. For example, a rapid assessment by UN Women on the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable women in Jordan found that the burden of home schooling and childcare fell disproportionately on mothers, with 77% of respondents reporting that mothers spend more time supporting their children’s distance learning compared to fathers. Furthermore, 62% of women respondents reported feeling at increased risk of physical or psychological violence because of increased tensions in the household and/or increased food insecurity.
This report outlines the findings of a GBV Risk Assessment conducted in Azraq Camp from September to November 2020. The assessment drew on a GBV Risk Assessment tool developed by the national GBV Working Group to assess the GBV risks in a specific community or setting. Data collection for the Risk Assessment was conducted by protection actors working in the camp, and included 29 focus group discussions (FGDs) with a cross section of male and female Syrian participants living in the camp. The FGDs were supported by Key Informant Interviews, with 11 key informants working in protection and management roles in the camp. The assessment aimed to better understand GBV risks within the camp, with a specific focus on residents’ coping mechanisms and suggestions for mitigating the risks associated with GBV in this setting.
The findings of the assessment present a concerning picture of widespread GBV within Azraq camp, with women and girls particularly affected. For women, sexual harassment/assault, emotional and verbal abuse, and domestic violence were the most commonly discussed forms of violence, by residents and Key Informants alike, along with the impact of child marriage. For girls, verbal and emotional abuse, sexual harassment/assault and child marriage were the most commonly discussed safety concerns, with the latter mentioned most frequently (in 17 of the 29 FGDs). Worryingly, the majority of FGDs concluded that the levels and intensity of violence had notably increased since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, a Key Informant working on protection cases in the camp observed that reported cases of GBV involving women had not increased. This indicates that survivors are likely facing additional and specific barriers preventing them from seeking help. With the virus looking likely to be present in Jordan well into 2021, the perceived increase in GBV in the camp, coupled with likely additional service barriers, is a significant concern that needs to be addressed when planning the camp’s GBV response for 2021.