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The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency working to further gender equality and women’s empowerment in Sri Lanka. Responding to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Effective response to violence against women and girls needs to be comprehensive, multidisciplinary, coordinated, systematic and sustained. It requires a collaborative effort by multi-disciplinary teams, personnel and institutions from all relevant sectors to implement laws, policies, protocols and agreements and communication strategies.

In Sri Lanka, victims/survivors of GBV/SGBV are a diverse group that includes those of higher vulnerability such as conflict affected women, domestic migrant workers, women workers on tea plantations, women with disability, the elderly and ex-combatants. Empowering women to recover their health and wellbeing and reintegrate into society without stigma requires SGBV services that have adequate coverage, are available, accessible, appropriate, timely, and sustainable.

This rapid mapping of the social services sector response for survivors of sexual and gender based violence elaborates on the requirements to strengthening and sustaining SGBV responses while highlighting the importance of timely implementation of the UNFPA assisted multi-sectoral National Action Plan on Women Headed Households (WHH-NAP) as it is key to empowering war widows and women who head households and are among the most vulnerable, challenged and under-represented in the post-conflict processes of reconciliation and peace building in Sri Lanka.

The mapping shows that service delivery was most affected in the NP, EP and CP where the highest levels of domestic violence have been reported. The noteworthy achievements of the line ministry in policy and programme formulation are likely to be further enhanced by the availability of a high level multi sectoral guidance and oversight mechanism. This would enable the delivery of a more coordinated SGBV prevention response to provide timely relief to victims / survivors of SGBV