Security and Safety

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0218/Romenzi
In Syria, children shelter in the doorway of a house, amid gunfire and shelling, in a city affected by the conflict between rebel and government forces.


  • For participants to gain awareness of the measures they need to take to prevent harm to victims/survivors, witnesses, sources, staff and other persons cooperating with MRM, and also to organisations.
  • Participants will discuss the basics and be aware of some measures that can be taken to realistically reduce risks.
Participants MRM Staff
Task Force Members
Session Participatory presentation and plenary discussion
Time required 60 minutes
Venue requirements Main training room
Equipment Laptop, LCD projector
Resource person(s) 1 person with knowledge of the topic, able to enrich the presentation by providing concrete examples and lessons based on own experienc
Training materials - PPT presentation on Security & Safety of victims/survivors, & witnesses
Documents for participants - Handout of PPT presentation (3 slides per page with notes)
- Checklist of things to consider when contacting a victim/survivor, witness or source of information [PDF]
Access to materials All the training material are included in Folder Module 10: Security and Safety


Session Sequence

  1. Introduction (15 minutes)

    Commence with short examples from two or three participants or facilitators, of specific security challenges and how this was or is managed.

    It is suggested that at this stage you do not get into a deep discussion on the technical points as this will be covered in the remainder of the session and time is allowed for discussion therein - and again at the end of the presentation with more examples from participants.

    Tip: It is suggested that at this stage you do not get into a deep discussion on the technical points as this will be covered in the remainder of the session and time is allowed for discussion therein.

  2. Interactive presentation (45 minutes)

    Refer to the PPT presentation and related speakers' notes on each slide. Below are a couple of suggestions on how to introduce some of the slides, to avoid presenting the entire session with the "telling mode".

    Slide 2: Who requires security?

    Brainstorming: Prior to showing the list ask participants whom they think requires protection

    Slide 3: Show the slide of the PowerPoint presentation on the MRM Sequence.

    Brainstorming: Ask participants to tell you where in the sequence does the protection of witnesses, victims/survivors and sources fit. After you get a few suggestions, answer: "throughout the sequence" and click on the slide so that a red frame will appear around the entire cycle.

    Protection of witnesses and sources does not only refer to victims/survivors and witnesses of human rights violations who provide testimony, but to all persons who provide us with information and with whom we have contact in the monitoring process, and in some cases their family or associates.

    Slide 4: At the title, ask participants who has the responsibility to provide security. See detailed notes on the ppt.

    Slide 5: Discuss the importance of assessing security every time you go on a field trip. Detailed notes on the slide can be used as required.

    Slide 6: You do not need to go through every bullet point but emphasise the need for flexibility - ask participants to share an experience when they had to change plans during a field visit.

    Slide 7: Whilst we do tend to regularly review and discuss our security we are notoriously bad at how we protect information. You do not need to go through all the slides but more details are on the slide if required.

    Ask participants (show of hands) how many of them:

    1. Lock all hard copies in a filing cabinet?
    2. Shred all hard copies once information is stored on a computer?
    3. Password all documents pertaining to individuals or incidents?
    4. Encrypt or at minimum password the database?
    5. Include individual names or other personal details in e-mails?
    6. Select encryption option during email transfers?

    Emphasise this is an important area that most of us can improve on.

    Slide 8: At the title slide ask participants if we can provide assurances.

    • We can provide no guarantees but the things we do can mitigate the risks.
    • Our presence can make a difference.
    • Planning, assessing risks, providing confidentiality and securing information can all aid to mitigate the risks to individuals and organisations

    In order to make the presentation more interesting, you should complement it by sharing concrete examples and lessons based on your own experience to illustrate some of the concepts addressed in the presentation.

  3. Discussion with participants (15 minutes)

    Leave the last 15 minutes for discussions with participants and encourage them to share their own experiences and situations where they were confronted with protection concerns or instances where they faced threats or risk of harm and how they dealt with it.

    Tip: If within your target audience there are national staff, orient the discussion towards particular security concerns faced by national staff working in the field of protection and particularly MRM and enquire about available mechanisms for their protection provided by the UN or their own organisations.

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