Combating Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

  • Last updated: 18 Jun. 2020 15:46

Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) refers to acts of sexual violence used as a tactic of war, usually to gain political or military advantage. It is recognised, codified and prosecuted as one of the most serious violations of international law. CRSV has been used in armed conflicts throughout history and continues to be a problem across the globe. This widespread crime has devastating and long-term effects on individuals and entire communities, and is a continued impediment to peace and security. NATO has an enduring commitment to combating CRSV.



  • NATO is committed to implementing the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, including UNSCR 1820, which focuses on conflict-related sexual violence.
  • NATO developed military guidelines on the Prevention and Response to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in 2015. These provide strategic commitments with the aim of reducing the risk of CRSV and improving responsive measures that take into consideration protection needs. NATO personnel are obliged to prevent, act and stop CRSV, to develop the analytical tools necessary to understand the level of risk of CRSV for information collection and reporting, and to cooperate with relevant international or local actors, including the United Nations.
  • In 2019, NATO outlined the work it is doing in this area and reaffirmed its commitment to eliminating CRSV in a statement to the UN Security Council.
  • NATO is alert to the new and emerging challenges of CRSV and the security implications this has now and into the future. The Alliance regularly works with a range of international organisations as well as civil society actors to contribute to eliminating sexual violence in conflict.