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Project ID:00090474Description:UNA034 WHO Psychological inter
UN Action Agst Sexual Violence
Start Date *: 13 May 2014
UN Action Against Sexual Viole
End Date*: 31 May 2016
Country: United Nations Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   WHO - World Health Organization

The proposed project, builds on the previous work supported by UN Action. It aims to develop a manual grounded in evidence-based and safe approaches with the goal of providing specific guidance for paraprofessionals (ranging from high school graduates with 2 years of further education to bachelor-level psychologists) to address common mental health problems related to sexual violence in adults.  Such manual is currently not available.

 The proposed manual will:

  • build upon the preliminary work of WHO and other UN agencies (UNHCR, UNFPA, UNICEF) in this area (including reviews of current evidence for effective interventions; the policy documents on mental health and psychosocial programming for conflict-related sexual violence);
  • be informed by the IRC & UNICEF guidelines for Caring for Child Survivors of Sexual Abuse – which fills a gap in the area for children.
  • address mental health problems of clinical concern in health services
  • provide instructions for delivering brief psychological interventions based on best evidence for safety and efficacy;
  • be based on selected intervention modules designed in ways that can be learned and implemented easily and effectively by paraprofessionals with no previous training in mental health interventions;
  • be adapted  and tested in at least one population) selected from:
    • Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast refugees in Liberia)
    • Syria (Syrian refugees in Jordan or Iraq)
    • South Sudan (South Sudanese refugees in Uganda).


The development of the manual is thus based on the findings from the 2011 UN Action-funded technical meeting on mental health and psychosocial services for sexual violence survivors led by WHO in close collaboration with UNFPA and UNICEF. This meeting involved practitioners from the field and academic experts as well as other representatives of key UN agencies and INGOs working in the area of sexual violence.


Content of manual

The selection of these techniques will be based on existing WHO guidelines on stress management and cognitive-behavioural interventions as well as subsequent literature review and expert consultation.  These techniques are specific (and they surpass non-specific counselling in effectiveness) and  are not intrusive in that they do not involve pressing the survivor to recount the details of the traumatic events (which is an intervention that is best implemented safely if people receive advanced training and goes beyond the low-intensity manual that we propose to prepare).

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in United Nations or the lead agency for the programme. The MPTF Office Portfolio Manager (or Country Director with Delegation of Authority) for this programme:

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