Gender-Based Violence

GBV is endemic across Iraq, affecting women, girls, boys, and men

SEED works to strengthen laws, policies, and protections for survivors and those at risk.

Strengthening Laws

Kurdistan is one of the few places in the MENA region to have a law which criminalizes domestic violence. SEED is working with other NGOs and Government Agencies to improve this legislation and its application.

  • Clarifications and guidelines for implementation
  • Strengthening mechanisms for referrals, collaboration, and coordination among the applicable government agencies
  • Distinguishing the roles and responsibilities of each government institution
  • Greater consistency in application of the law across governorates
  • Strengthening protections for children in law and in practice
  • Establishment of DCVAW offices in all districts
  • Application of the law by all the ministries and governmental commissions

Building Capacity

SEED trains staff from government agencies such as the Department of Combating Violence Against Women and Families (DCVAW) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA).
Training helps participants to:

  • Understand the impact of gender inequalities on people’s lives
  • Provides a deeper understanding of the GBV laws in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and their impact on survivors and those at risk of GBV
  • Strengthen the quality of services available to people affected by violence and conflict, including GBV, with the focus on women and girls within Kurdistan

Changing Cultural Norms

SEED raises awareness of the laws, services and issues around GBV in Kurdistan, to challenge societal stigmas placed on survivors and those at risk of GBV which form barriers to accessing help and protection through:

  • Empowering young women and girls
  • Outreach and awareness raising with adolescents and youth

  • Partnering with the KRG to prevent and respond to cases of sexual exploitation and abuse
  • Social media campaigns



Almost 50% of women in Iraq will face violence in their homes

UN Women Global Database on Violence Against Women 2019

Legal Framework of Laws and Protections for Survivors and Those at Risk of GBV

The GBV Legal Framework provides an analysis and overview of the primary laws in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that provide legally binding protections against GBV for survivors and those at risk.

SEED created the Framework to be used as a resource for first responders, government actors, lawyers, NGOs, and others working to protect survivors and those at risk of GBV, or for policy and advocacy work with the ultimate goal of increasing protections and improving services for survivors and those at risk of GBV, and helping them claim their lawful rights.

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Domestic violence – or violence in the home – is a type of gender-based violence (GBV) and is endemic across the Kurdistan Region and in Iraq. It is largely perpetrated against women and girls due to inherent power structures and gender inequality.

Although the Kurdistan Region has legal protections and government institutions in place to protect against domestic violence, violence remains high and has increased in the context of economic hardship, war and conflict, and the COVID-19 pandemic. For all of Kurdistan to achieve peace, security, and prosperity, all individuals, particularly women and girls, need to be safe from harm and violence. Let’s start at home.

Keep your family happy and safe.

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Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Harassment, and Abuse

Sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment are growing problems in Kurdistan and affect many young women and girls.

Social media has increased their vulnerability to being “sexploited” and harassed due to manipulation of photographs or by the sharing of their intimate/compromising photos, with women and girls at risk of losing their families, their safety, and their lives. Sexual harassment is not just an online problem, it happens in the workplace, schools, taxis and on the street.

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