Supporting male refugees and migrants who survive or are at risk of sexual violence

UNICEF and partners offer practical resources to support boys and young men on the move.

A boy who is an unaccompanied minor looks across the beach in Trabia, Italy, on May 14, 2016.
UNICEF/UN019996/Gilbertson VII Photo


Every year, tens of thousands of young refugees and migrants travel through some of the world’s most dangerous migration routes to reach Europe. During their journey and even after they finally arrive, they are vulnerable to violence, including sexual violence. Sexual violence includes rape, unwanted touching, or being forced to watch someone else being sexually violated.

Whatever form it takes, sexual violence can never be justified, and it is never the fault of the survivor. While women and girls bear the brunt of sexual violence during migration and upon arrival in Europe, sexual violence can happen to anyone – including men and boys.


Here are some useful resources to support young male refugee and migrants who are survivors or at risk of sexual violence:


  1. UNICEF and the Women Refugee Commission (WRC) developed a survivor-centered field guide for frontline workers to support young male refugees and migrants who are survivors or at risk of sexual violence. In a difficult programming environment, the field guide is a first step towards building trust and creating a safe and enabling environment that facilitates disclosure and access to support. The field guide is also helping frontline workers to integrate protective interventions into existing protection programmes. Here you can watch a video summary of the field guide

  2. UNICEF and UNFPA adapted “Boys on the Move”, a life-skills programme for unaccompanied boys who have arrived in Europe to specifically target older adolescents and young men. The programme provides participants with potentially life-saving information and helps them to build competencies to adapt to their challenging circumstances. The programme tackles topics such as sex, sexuality, relationships, money and education. While the curriculum recognizes the importance of engaging boys and young men to prevent gender-based violence (GBV), it also addresses boys and young men as potential survivors of sexual violence.

  3. UNICEF and the WRC developed the brochure, “10 Insights on Sexual Violence from Discussions with Young Men Travelling to Italy” which presents the experiences of young men and boys coming from Africa and the Middle East, as well as the perspectives of social workers, guardians, doctors, psychologists, and other service providers. The brochure includes key messages on sexual violence against men and boys and summarizes the findings of the WRC’s report “More Than One Million Pains: Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys on the Central Mediterranean Route to Italy

  4. UNICEF developed the brochure “12 Questions and Answers about Sexual Violence” which aims to empower young people on the move with key information in case they or someone they know have experienced sexual violence. While the content is valid for different settings, the information on where to get help is focused in Italy. The brochure is available in English, French, Italian, and Arabic.


Funding was provided by the United States Government

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English, French, Arabic, Italian