COVID-19 and Ending Violence Against Women and Girls



UNWomen have developed a brief which highlights emerging evidence of the impact of the recent global pandemic of COVID-19 on violence against women and girls. It makes recommendations to be considered by all sectors of society, from governments to international organizations and to civil society organizations in order to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, at the onset, during, and after the public health crisis with examples of actions already taken. It also considers the economic impact of the pandemic and its implications for violence against women and girls in the long-term. It is a living document that draws upon the knowledge and experience of a wide range of experts who support solutions to end violence against women and girls, attentive to the country context in which the crisis is occurring.

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a human rights violation, a universal issue, with great impact on victims/survivors, their families, and communities. 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. The figure rises to 30 per cent when considering violence by a partner experienced during women’s lifetime. More than a third of women who are intentionally killed are killed by a current or former intimate partner.

Although violence by a partner is one of the most common and widespread forms of violence against
women and girls, they experience violence in a variety of contexts – in times of peace or conflict, or in the wake of conflict – and in diverse spheres: the family, the community and broader society. Rapid advances in technology provide another avenue for cyberviolence against women. Available data show that less than 40 per cent of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort. Among those who do, most look to family and friends. Less than 10 per cent of those women seeking help seek help from the police.

The existing crisis of VAWG is likely to worsen in the context of COVID-19. Emerging data shows that since the outbreak of COVID-19, reports of violence against women, and particularly domestic violence, have increased in several countries as security, health, and money worries create tensions and strains accentuated by the cramped and confined living conditions of lockdown. More than half of the world’s population was under lockdown conditions by early April.

To read the full technical brief, click here

For the infographic, click here