Victims' Rights Advocate

Jane Connors, Victims' Rights Advocate

Jane Connors has been the Victims' Rights Advocate (VRA) for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel since 18 September 2017.

As the United Nations Victims’ Rights Advocate, Ms. Connors supports an integrated, strategic response to victim assistance in coordination with United Nations system actors with responsibility for assisting victims. She works with government institutions, civil society, and national and legal and human rights organizations to build networks of support and to help ensure that the full effect of local laws, including remedies for victims, are brought to bear.

Prior to this role, she was International Advocacy Director Law and Policy, at Amnesty International, and from 1996 to 2015, held progressively senior posts in the United Nations, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Earlier, she was a law teacher at universities in Australia and the United Kingdom.

The role of the Victims’ Rights Advocate is to put the rights of victims, their experiences, and their needs at the forefront of the UN’s fight against sexual exploitation and abuse. Victims of such wrongs often suffer severe trauma. The VRA seeks to ensure that this is acknowledged, that support and assistance is provided in line with each victim’s individual needs, as well as to raise the voices of victims who are often forgotten.

The VRA works with all parts of the UN system, including agencies, funds and programmes at their headquarters and in the field, Member States, national human rights institutions, civil society, the media and others, to make sure that an integrated response to victim assistance in line with the Secretary-General’s strategy and the UN strategy on assistance and support to victims adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 (A/RES/62/214, Annex) is taken.

The VRA regularly visits countries with UN presences to gain firsthand understanding of how sexual exploitation and abuse are addressed. She connects with victims directly, to hear about their individual needs and learn from them so the design of prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse is victim-centred.

'This role is to give a voice to the victims' - Jane Connors, Victims' Rights Advocate

Recent News

Sexual abuse a problem for the whole UN system: Victims' Rights Advocate

14 November 2020 — As the UN’s first-ever Victims’ Rights Advocate, Jane Connors has to confront an uncomfortable reality: sexual abuse and exploitation – or SEA for short - carried out by UN personnel.

Restoring dignity to victims of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN personnel

6 July 2020 — Projects supported by a UN trust fund for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel, are helping victims to regain their dignity, learn new skills, and improve their livelihoods.

More support needed for victims of sexual abuse by UN personnel

13 March 2020 — Although measures to support victims of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) committed by UN personnel are proving effective, there is still room to do more, the senior official leading these efforts told journalists in New York on Friday. 

Righting a wrong: UN Fund helps thousands of sex abuse survivors rebuild their lives

21 June 2019 — About 3,340 women, children and men, many of whom are victims, have been given support to recover from or help put an end to the scourge of sexual exploitation or abuse (SEA) by United Nations personnel, thanks to a Trust Fund established in 2016. On Friday, a meeting was held at UN Headquarters in New York, to report on the progress and impact made, and collect new pledges from Member States.

Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

28 February 2019 — For the first time since their designation in late 2017 as Field Victims’ Rights Advocates (FVRAs) to serve in the four countries from which most allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse had been reported — Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and South Sudan — , the FVRAs and the global United Nations Victims’ Rights Advocate (VRA) met together in Bangui, Central African Republic from 19 to 22 February 2019 to assess their achievements and the challenges that they face.