Women and girls at risk
Although its extent is unknown, Prostitution and sexual exploitation is present in Jordan. Most prostitution does not occur in public, making it difficult to assess the numbers of Iraqi women concerned. The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children reports that “according to an NGO representative, sex workers are identified by word of mouth and taxi drivers openly asked male passengers whether they are interested in such services,” delivering customers directly to the woman’s home17. In addition, The Women’s Commission reports that “cultural norms discourage survivors [of rape] from seeking help and awareness of the benefit of medical care after rape is very low. Another deterrent is that doctors in Jordan are required to report to the police women who seek medical care for rape.” 18
Fafo reports that 22% of the Iraqi households are headed by a single woman. Women headed households are typically poorer than male-headed households and the level of stress and other psychosocial factors are more pronounced.
Older persons at risk
The elderly are at particular risk. As the CARE and ICMC assessments have pointed out, there are elderly individuals who are disabled, raising families without support find themselves living in conditions of financial and social poverty.
Survivors of violence/torture
The unpredictable, lethal, and widespread violence that has occurred in Iraq since the beginning of the war has had widespread, residual effects on the Iraqi refugee / asylum seeker community. Almost all Iraqis have known someone who has been killed, wounded or kidnapped in the conflict. In our sample, we found most or all to have experienced serious violence within their family. Despite the significant variance of individual reactions to this violence, depending on a variety of protective factors including resilience, an appropriate response from service providers is required. Although only a small percentage of persons will develop a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and would thus benefit from psychotherapy and psychosocial support, most survivors of violence need a supportive community and family, providing a powerful method of therapy.
CARE also found that many Iraqis are being re-traumatized due to the obstacles and difficulty in finding treatment for severe psychological and medical problems.
Care for the disabled
The CARE assessment found that about 10% of Iraqis have permanent physical disabilities. Mercy Corps is one of the few organizations that directly deals with persons with disabilities. Mizan identified disabled persons as particularly vulnerable because of the lack of services for them. It is difficult for them to access UNHCR because of the physical layout of the building and the long wait for appointments.
Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children Ibid.
Report of the ICMC / USCCB Mission – Protection Needs in Jordan