During the invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014, violence against women and girls, especially intimate partner violence and sexual violence, increased rapidly. Since February 2022, the situation has deteriorated to alarming new levels. Exacerbated and pervasive violence against Ukrainian women and girls is a consequence of war, with women and girls continuing to be abused, exploited, and raped in Ukraine and while they flee to other countries. An increasing number of survivors are coming forward, buttressed by additional reports from women’s rights activists, service providers, humanitarian organizations, and UN agencies. As conflict in Ukraine pushes millions of women to seek refuge abroad, those leaving remain highly vulnerable to risks like trafficking, or may face sexual exploitation and abuse when seeking access to accommodation, transportation, or financial resources.
Women’s organizations in Poland, particularly those providing services to survivors of violence and working on women’s rights, are reporting more and more requests for assistance from sexual violence survivors inside Ukraine. Polish civil society has demonstrated their commitment and fitness to respond to the growing humanitarian needs, but the international community must step up with financial and technical support to ensure that a sustainable, localized approach can continue.