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Proactive measures on incidents of violence against women (VAW) amidst COVID-19
10 April, 2020
Current data indicate that almost 18 per cent of women and girls aged 15 to 49 years who have ever been in a relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months (UN WOMEN, 2020) and this is likely to worsen during COVID-19 lockdown. In Africa, like any other regions, the stay home order or household- isolation as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus is likely to lead to increased cases of violence against women, especially domestic violence as tensions and worries of security, health and money heightened by the overcrowded and confined living conditions of lockdown increase. Women and girls experiencing violence may have limited access to essential services such as hotlines, crisis centers, shelters, legal aid, and protection services may also be scaled back. Further, access to the few sources of help that women in abusive relationships could be reduced.
In an attempt to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on violence against women, The SDGC/A urgently recommends African governments, international organizations, and civil society organizations. should take measures to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls by:
- ensuring that communities are aware of the likelihood of the increased risks of violence against women during this pandemic and the need to keep in touch and support women subjected to violence, and have information about where help for victims is available;
- sending a strong message that the police and other law enforcement actors will give high priority to incidents of VAW in order to address its increase in the context of COVID-19, thus impunity will not be tolerated;
- including essential services and resources to address VAW in preparedness and response plans for COVID-19 and identify ways to make them accessible in the context of social distancing measures; and
- ensuring availability of psychosocial support for women and girls who experience violence and frontline health and social support workers.
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