Help to end

identity-based violence

Photograph: Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan, Nina Constable

Download our theory of change diagram here:

Our Approach

Who We Work With

Decision Shapers:

People who influence decision makers and public opinion. They can be writers, academics, journalists, commentators, broadcasters, sector leaders in education and public policy, or work for NGOs and charities. We believe that by working with the broad spectrum of influential actors who shape and direct the decisions that are made we can achieve greater, more democratic, and more lasting changes to benefit our world.

Decision Makers:

People who are able to implement change to local, national, regional, or international responses to issues of identity-based (mass) violence. They can be parliamentarians and politicians but leaders in civil services such as education, police forces or the army, are also able to effect significant changes to PPPJ policies and mechanisms within their sphere of influence.

Where We Work


Protection Approaches works to prevent, predict, and protect people from identity-based mass violence worldwide. An important aspect of our work is drawing attention to emerging and current crises where the risks of mass atrocities are severe and advocating for the protection of those at risk. We provide recommendations to decision makers and facilitate the sharing of best practice and/or information between domestic and international experts.

European sphere - Europe, Turkey, Russia:

Europe and its neighbours occupy an important geopolitical space influencing global and regional trends in both policy and attitude. European resources are considerable. Many western European states are significant international donors and provide important funds, advice, and support to countries worldwide. Both France and the UK occupy permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council and therefore hold crucial vote and veto powers regarding some of the most serious issues of identity-based mass violence and mass atrocities dealt with on the international stage.

Issues of identity-based violence do not only exist outside of Europe’s borders. The collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s left an enduring legacy of division and identity-based problems. In numerous European states the rise of far right extremism has led to the escalation of identity-based violence towards Roma populations and increase of antisemitism. Russia's punitive legislative changes regarding homosexuality and apparent impunity for homophobic violence is a serious cause of concern.

European Union:

The European Union is a ready-made robust international mechanism of policy and accountability yet historically, EU states have failed to consistently uphold either their existing international treaty obligations of responsibility or improve regional responses towards identity-based mass violence. EU responses to the crises in Syria and Ukraine, both in the broader European sphere of influence, have a failed to take into account early enough the very serious risks to numerous groups of people. These failures reveal that there remains in Europe a disjuncture between the sophisticated human rights law that underpins the Union’s principles and domestic legal systems, and the EU’s collective foreign policy.

United Kingdom:
Protection Approaches believes that one of the greatest obstacles to change in the prevention and protection of people from identity-based mass violence is the veto power held by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. We support the initiative put forward by France and other UN member states to consider the voluntary suspension of the veto in situations where mass atrocities are involved.

Global attitudes towards the shared responsibility to protect people at risk from mass violence are shifting. In the UK and elsewhere, decision makers and shapers appear to be moving backwards, becoming increasingly skeptical of humanitarian intervention and evermore isolationist in their conceptualisation of Britain’s foreign policy. The legacy of Iraq and the 2008 economic crisis have led to a contraction of ideological and financial commitments. There is a tendency to respond to crisis as single-issue emergencies  rather than patterns of violence. Domestic politics has become more inward looking and led to an increase in exclusionary rhetoric towards groups considered to be outside of the British sphere of responsibility. We consider this to be a cause for concern. So long as the United Kingdom remains a member of the United Nations Security Council, the UK’s role and responsibility for grave issues involving the most serious international crimes will remain globally important.

Our Approach

Protection Approaches believes that if identity-based violence is to be eradicated then prediction, prevention, protection and justice (PPPJ) must be pursued by all states and their societies. We consider PPPJ to be a shared human responsibilities that stretch from local communities to the most powerful global leaders.

Identity-based violence (IBV) occurs all over the world against many different people. IBV is always a crime and should always be condemned, the perpetrators held accountable, and the victims' rights protected. When incidents of IBV are not met with robust responses the crime is normalised and the risks of an escalation of violence increase. Protection Approaches monitors the responses of 5 Actors of Change that can either prevent future crimes or enable an escalation.

5 Actors of Change


Parliamentary representatives are responsible for legislative change and therefore can decide upon the most substantial degree of a country’s prediction, prevention, protection and justice (PPPJ) approaches at home and abroad. Leaders of civil services in education, the police, and the army also shape important aspects social cohesion that can either lead to or inhibit identity-based violence (IBV) and identity based mass violence (IBMV).

Civil Society:
Civil society groups, non-governmental organisations and religious groups play a crucial role in influencing social norms and values that can shape opinions of decision makers and broader society.

Traditional media such as print press, radio and television, and new online media provide information but also broadcast opinions. The capacity of the media to shape the views of many is unrivaled. All incidents of IBMV in modern history have been enabled by elements of a complicit media and at the same time recorded and condemned by a different,  braver media corps.


Without justice there is impunity and where impunity thrives, crime abounds. Holding perpetrators to account for their actions is important for victims of IBV or IBMV, for their families and for others who identify with the victim group.


When states are unable or unwilling to protect people within their borders from identity-based mass violence it is the responsibility of those states who are able to take appropriate measures to safeguard their lives.