View the event recording.

The slide presentations are available at the bottom of this page.


This event examined practical implications of sexual assault training in the United States, Colombia and the implication sexual assault has on policy.

According to the United Nations, it is estimated that, worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. Violence against women during or after armed conflicts has been reported in every international or non-international war-zone. Between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped during the conflict in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

This provocative discussion examined sexual violence from an international perspective, including the challenges being faced by those who are developing programs and practices to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable.

This event was the third of four in the Series on Sexual Violence, sponsored by the Government Innovators Network and the National Institute of Justice.  Recordings and presenters' slides are available for each event in the series:

  1. Sex Offender Residency Restrictions: Implementation and Impact
    June 19, 2008
  2. Sexual Violence and Evidence Collection
    August 13, 2008
  3. Sexual Violence: An International Perspective
    September 25, 2008
  4. Sexual Assault on College Campuses
    December 11, 2008



International Association of Forensic Nurses

Sexual Violence Research Initiative

South African Medical Research Council - Gender and Health Research Unit

World Health Organization - Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability
     - WHO. (2002).  The World report on violence and health.
     - WHO. (2007).  Primary prevention of intimate-partner violence and sexual violence: Background paper for WHO expert meeting, May 2-3, 2007 (PDF).
     - WHO. (2003). Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence (PDF).

International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) - U.S. Department of Justice

Office on Violence Against Women (OVAW) - U.S. Department of Justice
     - page on international issues


"Forensic Investigation of Sex Crimes in Colombia," Journal of Forensic Nursing, 2007 Fall/Winter Volume 3 Issue 3 & 4.

Additional Resources

U.S. Department of State links

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Populations Refugees and Migration (PRM)

  • Women in Post-Conflict Situations. PRM provided $1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Women and War project, which funded programs and conducted assessment missions with the goal of identifying the general and specific protection, health, and assistance needs of women in armed conflict. FY2003 completed the USG's 4-year pledge to the program. The program has now been successfully mainstreamed into ICRC's core protection activities.
  • PRM's Combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) International Programs: In FY2003, funding totaled $2,028,014; in FY2002, PRM programmed $2,052,244 for GBV projects. In FY2001, funding totaled $2,514,289; in FY2000, PRM programmed $1,681,874 for GBV projects.
  • TOTAL: More than $ 8 Million committed by the U.S. government to confront sexual violence, rape, and sexual exploitation in post-conflict situations and refugee camps worldwide.

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

  • Fact Sheet: Trafficking in Persons and International Military Organizations
  • "In October 2004, the UN Secretary General dispatched a team to conduct an assessment of the magnitude of the problem (allegation of sexual exploitation by international peacekeepers) among the 11,000 UN soldiers and 1,200 civilians serving there. The team concluded there was little awareness among international peacekeepers of the UN official policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse."
  • "The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has taken an aggressive stand against sex trafficking and related activities that may contribute to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. DOD's ‘zero tolerance' policy opposes prostitution, recognizing it as a contributing factor to sex trafficking. "
  • 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report, Special Topic of Interest on Child Soldiering
  • "In many countries, national armies and rebel militias illegally recruit-sometimes through abduction or force male and female children as ... sex slaves. The majority of these crimes are perpetrated in environments of complete impunity, outside of governmental control. As armed conflicts expire, governments and the international community must grapple with the questions of whether and how to hold perpetrators accountable for illegally involving children in armed conflict."
  • The Facts About Child Soldiers

Office of the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Women's Empowerment

  • UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security: The U.S. Government has been a strong supporter of UNSC Resolution 1325, which highlights the important role of women in helping their societies recover and rebuild after devastating civil conflict. U.S.-supported programs aimed at increasing women's access to education and strengthening their leadership, advocacy, political, and entrepreneurial skills help ensure that women are able to take their rightful place at the peace table and in society.
  • Statement by the U.S. on Resolution 1325, "Eliminating the Use of Rape and Other Forms of Sexual Violence to Achieve Political or Military Objectives" (October 2007)
  • Full text of UN Security Council Resolution 1820
  • The resolution recognizes a direct relationship between the widespread and/or systematic use of sexual violence as an instrument of conflict and the maintenance of international peace and security; commits the Security Council to considering appropriate steps to end such atrocities and to punish their perpetrators; and requests a report from the Secretary General on situations in which sexual violence is being widely or systematically employed against civilians and on strategies for ending the practice.
  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's opening remarks at the thematic debate on combating sexual violence in situations of armed conflict.
  • "This world body (UN Security Council) now acknowledges that sexual violence in conflict zones is indeed a security concern.We affirm that sexual violence profoundly affects not only the health and safety of women, but the economic and social stability of their nations."
  • "(W)e must work together to provide the necessary protection and assistance for victims of sexual violence. In recent years, the United States has provided more than $40 million to protect women and girls in Darfur and to provide for sexual violence prevention and responses to projects - response projects worldwide.

Office of the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs

  • Women's Justice and Empowerment Initiative in Benin, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia.
  • The $55 million will be used to bolster women's justice and empowerment in Africa by strengthening the capacity of the legal system to protect women and punish violators by training police, prosecutors, and judges in sexual violence and abuse cases against women, and developing or strengthening laws which protect women and empower their role in society.

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)

  • Human Rights Reports, submitted annually to Congress, are a full and complete report regarding the status of internationally recognized human rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • The Reports cover human rights problems affecting women, children, persons with disabilities, and indigenous people in the reports. The appropriate section of each country report discusses any abuses that are targeted specifically against women (for example, rape or other violence perpetrated by governmental or organized opposition forces, or discriminatory laws or regulations).

U.S. Agency for International Development