• 166 Citations
  • 8 h-Index
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Personal profile

Research Interests

Survivors of conflict and post-conflict sexual and gender-based violence and torture in Africa and the UK: Refugees and Asylum Seekers


Helen has been carrying out applied research with survivors of conflict and post-conflict sexual violence and torture in Africa since 1998. Helen has numerous journal publications including two books: ‘Ugandan Women War Survivors’ (Liebling-Kalifani, 2009) and ‘Justice and Health Provision for Survivors of Sexual Violence’ (Liebling and Baker, 2010). Helen’s research includes several innovations in theory including a re-conceptualisation of trauma, integrated justice and health approaches, and a holistic approach for service provision for conflict-affected survivors, the arguments for entitlement to health care being a human rights issue and policies for war survivors as well as governance and sexual violence. Helen has carried out consultancies, training and interventions in Africa to enhance support for conflict survivors and service providers in conjunction with Isis-WICCE, Uganda. Consequently Helen has had her policy recommendations adopted by the pre-consultative meeting in gender mainstreaming in the African Union and the executive summary and published book were presented to the President of Uganda who stated he would act on their recommendations. Furthermore, the South African Correctional Department recommended implementation of Helen’s research and policy recommendations to inform services for conflict survivors at trauma centres opened in Gulu and Kitgum, northern Uganda.

Area of Expertise:

Applied research with survivors of conflict and post-conflict sexual violence and torture in Africa since 1998. Helen has carried out consultancies, training and interventions to enhance support for conflict survivors and service providers. Helen has also carried out research with survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and torture including refugees and asylum seekers in the United Kingdom.

Vision Statement

My concern is to capture the voices and lived experiences of African women, men and children regarding their experiences and the gendered effects of conflict and post-conflict sexual and gender-based sexual violence and torture. I am inspired by the resilience and strength that survivors demonstrate in the midst of such adversities. How do survivors understand the effects of their experiences? To whom do they look for health and justice service responses and support? What assists their recovery? I found that Africans have their own culturally sensitive ways of understanding the collective impact of their experiences. My research also revealed that sexual violence and torture has had a devastating impact on the physical, reproductive and mental health and rights of African people and there is a lack of effective health and justice services to respond. The premise of my research is that only by understanding how African survivors themselves understand the effects of their experiences and their needs, as well as the health and justice providers views of current service provision, will governments, policy makers and donors be in a position to determine how best services should be delivered in order to meet these outstanding needs and ensure fairness, effectiveness, equity and sustainability.

External positions

External Examiner, Trinity College Dublin

30 Sep 201630 Sep 2020

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  • 3 Similar Profiles
Uganda Social Sciences
sexual violence Social Sciences
Liberia Social Sciences
experience Social Sciences
resilience Social Sciences
health Social Sciences
justice Social Sciences
Refugees Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1995 2018

Open Access
social rights
health consequences
health risk

Survivors of Conflict and Post-Conflict Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Liebling, H. 13 Mar 2018 Global Health and Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives. O'Manique, C. & Fourie, P. (eds.). Routledge

Research output: Research - peer-reviewChapter

sexual violence
service provider

Enhancing Learning from Lived Experiences Buddy System

Marczak, M., Liebling, H., Kucharska, J., Knight, E. & Gordon, C. 5 Jul 2017 p. 61-62 2 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewPaper

Clinical Psychology
Health Education
Practice Guidelines

Reflections on Research with Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation

Glover, J. & Liebling, H. 2017 In : Psychology of Women Section Review. 19, 1, p. 17-26 10 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

research process
Open Access
social effects
grounded theory

Activities 2006 2018

  • 13 Participation in conference
  • 1 Invited talk

Africa Matters

Liebling, H. (Speaker)
Feb 2018

Activity: Participation in conference

Africa Forum

Liebling, H. (Speaker)
Nov 2017

Activity: Participation in conference

University of Brighton Seminar

Liebling, H. (Participant)
Sep 2015 → …

Activity: Participation in conference