Published 27 February 2019

The conference brought together law experts, government and NGO representatives, and survivors from around the world, to discuss delivering justice for survivors of sexual conflict and holding perpetrators to account.

 The Countess of Wessex attends a conference on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative

The Countess of Wessex today attended a conference on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative at Wilton Park. The initiative was launched in 2012, and has since sought to raise awareness about the extent of sexual violence against women, men, girls and boys in conflict.

Sexual violence continues to be used as a weapon of war in conflicts around the world, devastating the lives of individuals, families and communities.

The Countess at the PSVI conference Feb 2019

Despite progress on justice and accountability over the past twenty years, it is rare for perpetrators of this crime to be held to account or for other forms of justice to be implemented – which results in a lack of closure for survivors. Many survivors will then face stigma and isolation in their own communities.

The Countess was welcomed to the conference by Lord Ahmad the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. Her Royal Highness then heard from speakers about what the UK government is doing to prevent sexual violence in conflict across the world, and listened to recommendations and discussion on what further action can be taken. Speakers included legal experts, prosecutors, judges, governments, NGOs and survivors themselves.

Over recent months, The Countess has met inspirational people working to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict, including those that have dedicated their lives to it, often at great personal risk to them and their families.

In November 2018, HRH met with human rights activist and Nobel Peace laureate Dr Denis Mukwege, who has for many years helped women and girls who have been subjected to this horrific crime in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Countess also attended the #PSVI Film Festival in the autumn, meeting with Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development and Minister for Women and Equalities and UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie.

The UK will host the international meeting on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, in November 2019.

Find out more about The Countess’ work here.