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Support the Safe from the Start Act

Policy Briefs

Today, unprecedented humanitarian crises resulting from conflict, natural disasters and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are occurring around the world. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that over 82 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes by the end of 2020. Just under half of these individuals were women and girls.

The impact of pre-existing structural and systemic inequalities and discrimination faced by women and girls is often exacerbated during humanitarian crises and displacement. As a result, there is a heightened risk of gender-based violence (GBV), such as intimate partner violence, child, early and forced marriage and sexual violence, including the use of rape as a weapon of war. Statistics on GBV show that while a staggering 35% of women globally experience GBV during their lifetime, its incidence jumps to 70% for those in humanitarian contexts.

Please support efforts to prevent and respond to GBV in humanitarian emergencies and crises by cosponsoring the Safe from the Start Act.

This bill:

1. Authorizes the State Department’s and U.S. Agency for International Development’s existing Safe from the Start program to address and respond to GBV in emergencies;

2. Updates and enhances the goals of the Safe from the Start initiative, such as improving access to support services for survivors, increasing efforts around protection and empowering women and girls in emergencies by promoting increased equity and equality; and

3. Encourages the U.S. government to strengthen its efforts to build the capacity of women and women-led local organizations in countries responding to humanitarian crises to prevent and respond to GBV.

To be added as a cosponsor of the Safe from the Start Act, please reach out to staff in the office of Representative Grace Meng.

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