‘Blind Spots’: Unaccompanied and Separated Girls in Europe

UNICEF and Child Protection Hub

This webinar is being organized as part of the regional project "Building Relationships through Innovative Development of Gender-Based Violence Awareness in Europe - BRIDGE" which has the aim to strengthen the statutory response to gender-based violence (GBV) affecting children and youth on the move in EU countries.

The BRIDGE project is supported by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020) and is implemented in Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Malta and Romania.A series of webinars are being organized as part of the BRIDGE project to discuss issues of GBV and share good practices. 

About the webinar:

The purpose of the webinar is to shed light on the specific experiences and issues of unaccompanied and separate girls in the European Response. UNICEF’s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia has been focusing on this issues through the programme on “Action Against Gender-Based Violence Affecting Refugee and Migrant Women and Children in Greece, Italy, Serbia and Bulgaria”, funded by the United States Government.

Since 2015, Europe has experienced an unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants fleeing conflict, violence, insecurity and a lack of opportunities in the Middle East, South Asia, East and West Africa. Although arrivals in 2018 were lower compared to the numbers in 2015-2017, the journeys were as dangerous as ever. In 2018, some 141,500 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe through the Mediterranean migration routes. On average one in every four was a child. Between January and December 2018., 30,085 children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria, of whom 12,717 (42%) were unaccompanied and separated children (UASC). The number of unaccompanied or separated girls is difficult to quantify as data is incomplete. There are substantial gaps in available information on the numbers, patterns, risks and experiences of these girls and more girls may be arriving on their own but are not being identified as unaccompanied. 

Unaccompanied and separated girls tend to be more ‘invisible’ than boys due to specific dynamics around their travel. Unaccompanied boys tend to travel alone or in groups and self-identify during registration. Girls may not be immediately visible or identifiable as unaccompanied. Adolescent girls, especially those that are unaccompanied or separated, may face increased risks of GBV including sexual violence, exploitation, abuse and trafficking before, during and after migration due to their reduced protection and support networks. Some may be fleeing violence, including early marriage, in their home country or have experienced violence or abuse on their route and are at risk of exploitation and trafficking. 

By the end of the webinar participants will increase their understanding of the protection issues and risks faced by unaccompanied and separated girls while on the move as well as be familiar with some initial tools that can facilitate their daily practice in identifying girls and their needs.

How to join the webinar:

Use the button below to sign up for the webinar. A few hours before the webinar you will receive an email with the link to the webinar room, and instructions on how to join. Joining our webinars is very easy, doesn't require any special skills from you, and only takes a minute or two. You can join the webinar from your computer, tablet or mobile phone.