Protection from violence.
Protection from violence
Read caption Photo: Abdulkadir Mohamed/NRC

Protection from violence

When people are forced to flee their homes, they often experience ongoing threats to their safety. At the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), we help to ensure displaced people and communities are protected, by preventing and responding to violence, coercion, and actions taken by others to deny them their rights.

Protection is about safety, dignity and rights. It is about people being safe from the violence or abuse during an armed conflict or natural disaster. We work to reduce risks for displaced people and strengthen their capacity for self-protection. From providing lighting in a camp to make it safer for women to move freely, to resolving violence through mediation, we strive to ensure that displaced people can live in safety and dignity, with access to impartial assistance.

Our expertise in protection from violence

Protection in its broadest sense has always been part of our DNA. Whether we are helping people access their rights through our legal assistance work, protecting children through providing safe spaces to learn and play, or providing families with a safe place to live, protection is at the heart of what we do.

We ensure that all our activities – our programmes as well as our policy and advocacy work – contribute to protection outcomes and meet rigorous standards, so they are safe, participatory, accountable and dignified for the communities and people we serve.

In 2022, we saw a need to focus our work on prevention and response to violence more sharply. Some of the most vulnerable people and communities we work with need specialised support. We provide this in four ways:

1. Community safety and violence prevention

There is growing recognition that the most effective protection measures are those that involve the people and communities at risk from violence and empower them to protect themselves. In many cases, civilians engage daily with armed groups and national authorities to protect themselves, their families and communities. In other cases, they must engage with others within and across their own communities. We support these activities through our civilian self-protection and humanitarian mediation work.

2. Individual protection services

Some protection response services, such as those involving child protection and gender-based violence, are well established and defined. However, many civilians experience protection violations for which there are limited response options. For example, ex-combatants may be targeted because of their links to opposition groups, while older community members may be exploited because of their perceived vulnerabilities. We provide protection case management and individual assistance for those who fall outside the mainstream humanitarian response.

3.  Site management

Camps and other settlements for displaced people should be safe environments. We recognise that effective site management leads to a reduction in protection risks and threats. Through our site coordination and community engagement activities, we work to ensure that the assistance and protection provided in these sites are in line with laws, guidelines, agreed standards, and the wishes of the communities themselves.

4. Thought leadership and influence

We work to mobilise and influence the humanitarian community to invest in specialised protection services and consciously contribute to better protection outcomes. We engage in protection monitoring and take leadership roles in protection coordination systems and policy mechanisms.

For more information, contact Anthony Nolan (Global Protection Lead).