Examples of priority issues

Examples of issues that have been raised as a priority in past workshops include:

  • Family challenges: how to keep our families safe and well; how to stay safe when our family members threaten us; how our families can help to protect us.

  • Power dynamics: addressing use of power within organisations and movements, particularly with regard to issues of competition, mistrust, betrayal – how to strengthen true solidarity that protects.

  • Grief and loss: understanding and addressing the physical and psychological impact of working in, and on, violence; coping with the loss of colleagues, friends, loved ones.

  • Leaving home: discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of temporary or permanent evacuation as a protection strategy, and on mechanisms and options.

  • Physical violence: how to deal with physical violence (including gender-based violence and/or hostage-taking) – developing specific prevention strategies and action to support defenders during and after an attack.

  • Criminalisation of activists/legal and administrative challenges: coping with increasing forms of ‘criminalising’ activism, including counter-terrorism measures, repressive NGO laws, financial investigations, complex registration processes, lawsuits against women human rights defenders.

  • Defamation and slander: responding to attempts to discredit human rights movements and individual women human rights defenders.

  • Detention, arrest and incarceration: coping with hostage situations and other forms of detention; establishing systems of support in case of detention/attack.

  • Managing stress: understanding stress, coping strategies, resilience and concepts such as burnout and vicarious trauma.

  • Self-defence: methods for physical and psychological self-defence (facilitator should be trained in and/or supported by self-defence professionals).

  • Internet and communications security: ensuring safe modes of communication, and methods of documentation.

  • Building solidarity: discussing divisions within the women’s rights movement in a region, as well as challenges to groups and power dynamics – and the critical importance that building bridges and deepening solidarity plays in ensuring the security and well-being of individuals and organisations in the human rights field.