UKRAINE EMERGENCY RESPONSE FOR CHURCHES
Churches are at the front line of the emergency response. Here’s what they can do to ensure refugees are cared for and protected from human traffickers.
Top 5 Tips For Churches Working at the Border
Wear identification so that the people you meet know who you are and what organization you belong to.
Remember that every person you meet is known and loved by God. Offer assistance without discrimination, regardless of race, religion, national origin, etc.
Work in pairs, never alone. This makes things safer for everyone.
Offer prayer when appropriate, but save preaching for another time. People in crisis should never feel pressure to convert.
Identify yourselves to border police or relevant authorities when arriving at a border or camp. Explain why you are there and what you are planning to do.
Top 5 Tips For People Who Are Transporting Refugees
Have your ID ready and visible. Bring a copy of your information that your passenger can keep or allow them to take a photo.
Keeping people safe must be a priority. Be prepared to give your contact details and information to your passenger and to any agency providing aid.
Build trust with your passenger by telling them what is happening along the journey. Don’t make detours or unannounced stops.
If this transport has been arranged through an NGO or church, take a photo to confirm that you have delivered your passengers to the correct address and that they are safe. Send to the referring agency.
Top 5 Tips For Co-ordinating Transport for Refugees
Take photos of driver ID and car with license plate visible. Get a phone number for the driver.
Take photos of passenger IDs.
Record destination address and name of contact person at that address (if known).
Request a photo of the passenger(s) at their address on arrival.
Provide information on rights and responsibilities in your country, including how to register once they arrive at their destination.
Top Tips For People Who Are Accommodating Refugees
Vulnerable people need physical and psychological safety. Here’s how to make your home a safe place.
Be friendly. Research shows that up to 90% of communication is non-verbal. A calm, friendly voice and relaxed posture can tell people “I’m glad that you’re here,” even if you don’t have a common language. When you speak, use simple words and short sentences.
Have your ID ready and visible. Have a copy of your information that your guest can keep or allow them to take a photo. This will help them to feel that you are a safe person that is transparent and can be trusted.
Give them your address. Have a copy of a map of the area and have your location marked on it.
Predictability – knowing what’s coming next – is important to help people regain their balance after trauma. Explain your normal household schedule so that guests will know what to expect during the day.
Create some simple rules for how your home works. Which areas of the house are guests able to access? When does the house need to be quiet at night? Is the kitchen available for them to cook their own food, if they want to? Explain behaviours that aren’t acceptable in your home (ie., smoking).
Help your guests to feel comfortable by dressing modestly and appropriately in shared areas of the house. Respect physical boundaries; ask permission before touching a guest.
Give your guests privacy – a separate room to which they can withdraw, or a dedicated space that they can use freely. They may also want a safe place to keep important belongings.
Let your guests know how long you are able to host them. This will remove uncertainty and help them to think towards next steps.
Give access to your internet – refugees will be anxious to communicate with their families and friends, both for support and for safety.
Help your guests find out where and how to register their presence with the local authorities. Information is available here.
How Women and Children Can Stay Safe from Sexual Violence During the Crisis
Remain vigilant: during a crisis sexual abuse and violence is possible even in safe spaces such as shelters and refugee camps.
Communicate to trusted persons where you are and check-in with them regularly, take pictures where you are and send it to them.
Connect and find support from other women:
- Stay in groups
- Take turns watching your surroundings with others
- Sleep with the lights on
- Go to bathrooms in groups
- Pretend to know women or children who you see being harassed. Interrupt the conversation by asking for the time.
Be proactive. Ask men you trust to intervene if you receive unwanted attention.
Adults should be with children at all times. Check the identity of any unknown adults who approach children. Talk to your children about what is safe behaviour.
Tips to support women who have experienced sexual violence
- Always listen, believe and support survivors. Never put them in the same room with the perpetrator to talk it out. You are there to support them, not to resolve the situation.
- Receiving quality medical care within 72 hours can prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections, and within 120 hours can prevent other serious health complications.
- Offer the national hotlines, hospital information, and language specific services to survivors to provide further support.
- Let the survivor make their own choices. Ask the survivor for permission before connecting them to anyone else.
- For a survivor-centered approach, practice respect, safety, confidentiality, and non-discrimination. Avoid any type of language that blames the victim for what has happened.
- Protect the identity and safety of a survivor. Do not write down, take pictures or verbally share any personal/identifying information about a survivor or their experience.