• The Family Support Helpline: Report of Gender Based Violence in Five Provinces of Afghanistan

The Family Support Helpline: Report of Gender Based Violence in Five Provinces of Afghanistan

08 June 2020

This report has been prepared by the Afghanistan Capacity Development and Educational Organisation (ACDEO) with the support of the British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG)  and it is funded by Amplify Change.

It aims to examine the root causes of violence in Afghanistan and their link with mental health issues by analysing the Family Support Helpline (6464) data calls which have been recorded from January 2016 to March 2019, from five provinces of the county; Balkh, Bamiyan, Panjshir, Kabul and Herat.

To meet the aim of the study three research questions were posed: 1) what are the main types of GBV at the provincial level in Afghanistan? 2) what are the root causes of the violence and the risk factors at provincial level in Afghanistan? and 3) what are the consequences of violent behaviour for victims in terms of mental health?

This study adopted the WHO framework[1] for defining the risk factors of violence and the data analysed by using quantitative and qualitative techniques. The findings from the study show that seven out of ten callers, women and children, had experienced moderate or severe types of physical violence. Refusing to wear a Burqa was one reason for physical violence alongside forced marriage and a woman’s desire to continue in education and work. One third of callers had suffered from sexual violence in the form of forced marriage and sexual abuse. It was found that men, as well as women, were victims of forced engagement and forced marriage. About 20% of sufferers of sexual violence in Kabul and Balkh had been abused by male members of their families, a father, brother or uncle.

The analysis uncovered different types of psychological or emotional gender-based violence in the provinces. Out of the total of sufferers (1,490), 40% had suffered because of polygamy, 30% had experienced enforced isolation, 10% had been abused because they had not borne a child or a son, 6% asked for their share of inheritance and 4% were insulted because of their gender.15 factors in causing GBV among families were identified in the targeted provinces. Forced marriage, engagement in childhood and restrictions on education were consistent causes of violence in all five provinces.

It is found that a third of all callers had suffered from violence during the entire duration of their lives and that 10% of them were living with life long injuries caused by physical violence. Women and girls had reacted to violence in three main ways: a quarter were seeking divorce, some of them had sought support from the police and a third of Panjshir women had run away from their parental home to escape a forced marriage. 






The degree of influence of each risk factors and the root causes of the factors are detailed in the report; please see the link: https://www.baag.org.uk/resources.


[1] (WHO, 2002)