As adolescents transition from childhood to adulthood, they normally benefit from the influence of adult role models, social norms and structures, and community groups (peer, religious or cultural). Humanitarian emergencies are accompanied by inherent risks that increase adolescents’ vulnerability to violence, poverty, separation from families, sexual abuse, and exploitation. These factors can disrupt protective family and social structures, peer networks, schools and religious institutions, and can greatly affect the ability of adolescents to practice safe reproductive health behaviors. Their new environment can be violent, stressful, and/or unhealthy. Adolescents (especially young women) who live under marginalized circumstances are highly vulnerable to sexual coercion, exploitation and violence, and may have no choice but to engage in high-risk or transactional sex for survival.
Adolescents are a heterogeneous group. Their risks and needs may vary depending on the environment and local context as well as their marital status, education status, disability status, gender identity, bodily identity, sexual orientation and social and economic status.
For more information about the IAWG’s work in ASRH, please see the ASRH Sub-Working Group page.