Interpersonal Violence and Forced Displacement


This chapter examines the nature and scope of interpersonal violence facing forcibly displaced populations experiencing humanitarian emergencies. Then, it discusses the mental health implications, human rights frameworks, and practical interventions most commonly developed for these populations in practice. While the number of refugees and internally displaced persons resulting from complex humanitarian emergencies is at an all-time high, an examination of current research and practice shows the limited attention to the effects of interpersonal violence on displacement across the life span. Trauma-informed approaches are still continuously debated which inhibits quick application of research results into practice. A medicalized, western, and clinical mental health approach to programs for refugees and displaced children continues to compete with culturally appropriate, localized community-based approaches to psychosocial protection responses. However, displaced populations subject to high levels of interpersonal violence before, during, and after displacement may often require careful combinations of both approaches with an emphasis on sequencing activities at the right time with appropriate interventions targeting key groups. This chapter reviews major trends in forced displacement, vulnerable groups, significant trends in forced displacement alongside notable violence reduction strategies, nascent research being translated into practice, and examples of promising interventions. The chapter concludes with policy recommendations for preventing violence among forcibly displaced populations drawn from human rights frameworks, and recent interagency guidance developed to address the health-specific and wider multi-sectoral support delivered in refugee camps and displaced persons’ communities.


Social Work

Publication Date


Journal Title

Handbook of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Across the Lifespan



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Document Type

Book Chapter


© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG