HEARD’s Gender-based Violence (GBV) research cluster is currently working on a number of studies aimed at understanding the intersections of risk and vulnerability for GBV across a range of populations and contexts, including institutions of higher education, amongst female migrants and refugees and in contexts of transactional sex and sex-work. GBV is linked with a host of poor SRH and mental health outcomes, including risk of HIV, unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion and depression.

Dr Tamaryn Crankshaw, HEARD’s Programme Leader for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Visiting Professor Jane Freedman from the Université Paris 8, and Dr  Marcia Mutambara, HEARD Postdoctoral Fellow make up the dynamic team. The team is joined by Shamiso Chigorimbo who has been recently accepted into HEARD’s PhD Scholarship Programme. Shamiso holds a Masters in International Development from the University College Dublin and will be focusing on GBV amongst migrant and refugee women for her PhD topic. She hopes to make an academic contribution to efforts to end all forms of GBV.

Current research within the cluster includes a project analysing the causes of and effective policy response to violence against women migrants and refugees.  The project is an international cooperation between Université Paris 8, France and the University of KwaZulu-Natal under the South Africa / France Science and Technology Research Collaboration (Protea) Programme.  HEARD is working with Refugee Social Services and the Denis Hurley Centre, in Durban, South Africa, on this project. The overall objective is to make a contribution to understanding the levels of sexual and gender-based violence against migrant and refugee women, with a view to informing the policy and service response to migrant and refugee women who experience such violence.

Tertiary education is an important determinant of economic growth and development, and higher and tertiary education institutes (HTEIs) are key sites for normative change around gender inequalities. However, gender-based violence, which is fundamentally rooted in gender-based power inequalities within social structures and relationships, is pervasive on higher education campuses across the region. The research cluster is currently focusing on SGBV at HTEIs, to better understand the extent and intersections of the different forms of violence to inform policy frameworks for prevention and response.