Violence is one of the most widespread side-effects of migration. Some of these abuses are well-known and heavily documented, but for the largest part, harmful and violent situations affecting migrants remain unnoticed. EVAM aims at revealing this violence to combat it. 

To do so, EVAM mobilizes field actors in direct contact with migrants to support the collection of information related to violent situations affecting migrants. EVAM’s approach is pragmatic: it does not seek to denounce but rather to document, raise awareness and mobilize actors that can contribute to reduce violence.

At the core of EVAM initiative is the ASSESSMENT. Its purpose is to reveal the reality of the hardship endured by migrants by collecting and classifying data. Once made aware of the violence, relevant stakeholders can use the information and act on the causes of violence.

Definition of violence

EVAM considers violence in a broad sense: it encompasses any harmful situation affecting migrants disregarding the motive or the nature of the perpetrators.

Violence can be physical, sexual, psychological, or administrative. It can also results from deprivation or neglect. It can be self-directed, interpersonal or collective (WHO[1]).

1. People of concerns

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) defines a migrant as “any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of (1) the person’s legal status; (2) whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary; (3) what the causes for the movement are; or (4) what the length of the stay is.[2]

EVAM promotes an impartial approach and seeks to support all migrants affected by violence, disregarding their status or origin. Similarly, it is not geographically bound, as per violent situations affecting migrants. 

2. Documentation of abuses

The target audience of EVAM’s assessments are victims or witnesses of violence.

EVAM’s partners conducting assessments must have a direct link to the targeted audience while not being directly associated to the source of violence to ensure an independent approach guaranteeing the authenticity and credibility of the allegations collected.

EVAM provides guidance to its partners on the documentation processes and requests that the process respects local legislation, such as forensic aspects, labor law, regulations on discrimination and xenophobia, etc.

3. Interviews

EVAM’s primary concerns is the protection of the victims and the strict confidentiality of the information collected. As well, EVAM pays specific attention to ensure the documentation of violence does not harm the operational capacities of its partners and contributors.

Interviews must always be voluntary and anonymous. When personal data protection cannot be guaranteed, complete anonymity must be ensured by all actors included during the assessment, analysis, and publication of the results.

Interviews must be conducted within a defined time-period to avoid context or stakeholders change. Depending of the context the documentation period can vary. It is recommended to ensure a critical mass of allegations to consider a period of interviews of a minimum 2 or 3 months.

Once a pattern of violence has been documented, EVAM assists its operational partner in the identification and mobilization of relevant stakeholders.

4. Mobilization

EVAM’s approach is participative. It seeks to bring on board relevant stakeholders that can act to reduce violence. By involving them at an early stage of the documentation process, EVAM generates a sense of ownership and sets the basis for a constructive dialogue based on the findings.

The collected datashould always be presented and discussed with the relevant stakeholders before possible broader dissemination.

5. Types of research

The methodology of each assessment is defined and approved prior to the assessment. It must respect EVAM’s approach and principles.

The type of documentation (exploratory research, research on representative corpus, etc) and the definition of the targeted audience is clearly specified and agreed upon between EVAM and its partner prior to the assessment.

The collected data must portray the reality faced by migrants and stakeholders.  It will be centralized and used to identify possible trends at a global level.  

[1] World Health Organization (2002). World Report on Violence and Health. p.4.

[2] International Organization for Migration (2019). Who is a migrant?  International Organization for Migration.