The Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict Research Program

War-related sexual violence is rampant in many parts of the world. Still, the systematic data available to understand this problem is limited. On 16 December 2010, the UN Security Council, through Resolution 1960 [link to resolution], formally acknowledged the need for better reporting and more systematic data collection and analysis to help devise appropriate actions against sexual violence.  Resolution 1960 declares that there should be an enhanced focus on ‘data collection and analysis of incidents, trends, and patterns of rape and other forms of sexual violence’. The SVAC project responds to this call.

The SVAC project
The SVAC project builds on the first global dataset on sexual violence in civil wars, assembled by Dara Kay Cohen (research team member). We extend this by focusing on a larger set of conflicts, including additional key indicators for sexual violence prevention, and by expanding the data source material that is consulted. 

In the SVAC project, we are gather systematic data on a range of key dimensions for understanding war-related sexual violence: this includes
- when and where conflict-related sexual violence is perpetrated,
- which armed actors were responsible,
- which victims were selected for violence
- the types of violence that occurred,
o  ranging from rape and gang rape, to sexual mutilation, sexual slavery, and sexual torture.

To make reliable predictions about where hotspots of sexual violence are likely to emerge, we argue that we need systematic study of patterns of sexual violence along all these dimensions.

The SVAC dataset is not yet made public. Please contact for information.