Program Areas

Community Services

Protection: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence


A poster promoting the use of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), in the event of a sexual attack, to help prevent HIV infection.

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is one of the main drivers of HIV infection for women and girls in Northern Uganda today. It refers to any harmful act perpetrated against a person's will, based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females, and that results in physical, mental, or sexual harassment, harm, or suffering. It can exist in the form of threats, coercion, or deprivation. Although men can also be victims of SGBV, this type of violence mostly affects women.

SGBV is a significant public health and human rights issue with serious concerns because it:

  • Is life-threatening and impacts all aspects of women’s and girls’ physical, emotional, psychological, and social health and well-being
  • Affects women’s productivity and capacity to care for themselves and their children
  • Increases the risk for a range of negative health outcomes, both fatal and non-fatal, including HIV


To contribute to HIV prevention in Northern Uganda, NUMAT SGBV interventions include immediate access to prevention services for victims of sexual violence, as well as efforts to change the cultural environment that contributes to this and other acts of gender-based violence.

Specific Activities

  • SGBV prevention activities focus on tackling gender inequalities that perpetuate SGBV
  • Response activities ensure that the survivor of SGBV receives services that minimize the risk of further harm, including HIV infection. These services include medical care with post-exposure prophylaxis, emergency contraception, treatment of injuries, counseling, and also the collection of forensic evidence
  • Survivors of SGBV are also assisted with access to legal services for redress as well as to help ensure safety and security
  • NUMAT also focuses on long-term development of structures and systems for sustained protection of women from SGBV through the use of community resource persons, building the capacity of existing community-based structures, sensitization of community leaders, and strengthening police and administrative structures responsible for enforcing protective measures

Back to top