Through its training workshops, PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones:
- works with local experts to train doctors, nurses, and psycho-social trauma and recovery counselors in the collection of forensic evidence of sexual violence, including documenting health consequences, assuring appropriate treatment, and supporting legal assistance and advocacy
- provides a forum for essential cross-training and professional collaboration in serving survivors’ needs
- connects members of the health, law enforcement, and legal sectors to facilitate an informal regional support network among stakeholders working to combat sexual violence
- advocates for national and international reforms addressing the political, legal, social, and cultural obstacles that often derail efforts toward prosecution
- supports the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other international and local legal groups in their efforts to prosecute the highest-level perpetrators of mass atrocities in these countries
In addition to strengthening the capacity of each of these sectors to respond to sexual violence, PHR’s initiative aims to raise the profile of nurses documenting evidence, reduce professional isolation, increase communication, and facilitate dialogue across the medical, law enforcement, and legal communities.
To accomplish its goals, PHR has brought together a broad network of local and international experts, including doctors, nurses, police officers, forensic experts, lawyers, and judges. These experts, along with other partners, have helped to develop training materials and lead workshops aimed at defining and implementing forensic best practices over the long term.
PHR’s training model is designed with a view toward long-term capacity building and sustainability; graduates of our training program are well-positioned to then train their colleagues and counterparts in subsequent workshops.
By working on a systemic level, forging new coalitions across sectors, and bolstering capacity for local prosecutions, we help strengthen accountability mechanisms for sexual violence in East and Central Africa. Ending the culture of impunity is crucial to deterring future crimes and enabling survivors to obtain a measure of justice.
To date, PHR has:
- convened basic and advanced forensic training workshops in many communities in eastern DRC, Kenya, and elsewhere
- trained more than 650 professionals from the health, law enforcement, and legal sectors
- launched cross-sectoral networks of local professionals in the DRC and in Kenya
- developed and deepened local partnerships over the last three years to facilitate communication, coordination, and collaboration among health, law enforcement, and legal service providers