Clinical psychologists and researchers associated with Health and Human Rights Info (HHRI) have developed a training manual for mental health work with survivors of GBV. Pilot studies have been conducted in Jordan, Cambodia, Colombia, Turkey and Norway.

The manual can be downloaded for free. The team received feedback on the manual, and the  2nd Edition can be found at  and please check out the GBV-manual website for more information.

On the website you will find an introduction webinar monitored by UNFP and information on certificate training. For your convenience, the team has made a collections of the tools found in the manual – A toolbox.

An Arabic translation of the manual will be available in March 2017.

“The manual suggests approaches and techniques that address the psychological needs of GBV survivors, which helpers can use when they assist and provide care to individuals who are exposed to this form of violence. It focuses especially on ways of understanding how trauma affects the lives of survivors. The approaches presented will hopefully be of value in work with people exposed to other forms of trauma as well.

The manual is for helpers who provide assistance and support to women who survive gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual trauma during disasters, conflicts and emergency situations, where access to health professionals with psychological or psychiatric expertise is limited.

The manual is not a therapy manual, but a training manual that suggests approaches and techniques that address the psychological needs of GBV survivors. It may also supplement and deepen the understanding of health workers who already have knowledge and experience. The main purpose, however, is to be used in training of helpers, to strengthen understanding trauma and practical approaches to assistance. It may be a tool for helpers who train other helpers and for groups of helpers who need self-study materials. The manual can be read, studied and discussed, and the exercises it contains can be tested and applied in groups working with this subject matter.

The manual explores the psychological meaning of trauma and how traumatic events affect mental health. What are the signs of severe stress? How can these be assessed and understood? How does a helper approach a woman shortly after she has been through dreadful and violent experiences? How to deal with her distress and how to create safe spaces that permit supportive dialogues? (…) How can reporting of violations be prepared and handled and how can the survivor’s rights and safety be ensured?

Human Rights and Respect are key values. Human rights may assist both in understanding the suffering and in finding ways to respond to it in a respectful and helpful way. Willingness to help and listen, allow survivors to control their own stories, and respect their self-determination, are important values that shape the way survivors should be approached. The manual includes elements of theory but focuses on practical training techniques that directly assist survivors. We hope it may provide helpers with approaches and tools they may use to assist survivors of GBV to rebuild their lives and regain their sense of dignity.” (HHRI, webpage).

The HHRI team will be happy to receive any questions or feedback.