Gender and Conflict in Ukraine

This report examines gender based violence and human trafficking and domestic violence


The conflicts in eastern and southern Ukraine constitute a significant humanitarian crisis for the country and the region, with at least 1.7 million internally displaced persons, two-thirds of whom are women and approximately 1.5 million people seeking asylum or other forms of legal stay in neighbouring countries. Women are at risk of gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrated by armed groups, although GBV does not appear to be systematically or widely used by either side as a weapon of war. Human trafficking, including trafficking of women for sexual exploitation, is endemic and has been exacerbated by the conflict. There is some limited evidence that the conflicts may have led to an increase in the prevalence of domestic violence. However, domestic violence remains largely a hidden problem and incidents frequently go unreported. The availability of up-to-date information for this report has been somewhat limited, particularly in relation to non-government-controlled conflict areas. Information about the conflict also carries a significant risk of bias or propaganda; in this report we have relied primarily on information from multilateral organisations such as UN agencies rather than on local sources. The prevalence of gender-based violence is difficult to determine as the issue has traditionally been rather hidden in Ukrainian society.

K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.


Lucas, B., Rohwerder, B., and Tull, K. (2017). Gender and conflict in Ukraine. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Gender and Conflict in Ukraine

Published 23 February 2017