UNDP + UN Women: Measures to address VAW during the pandemic have been uneven and insufficient
Evidence from the UNDP-UN Women Global Gender Response Tracker shows mixed responses.
As COVID-19 quarantine and social distancing measures confine women and transgender and gender-diverse people with abusers, and limit survivors’ access to support networks and services, the “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence has surged. Domestic violence calls and reports to helplines and police have increased in some cases, while elsewhere rates have decreased as survivors are unable to leave home or use a phone to ask for help, or because services are simply unavailable.
The UNDP-UN Women Global Gender Response Tracker identifies 704 measures across 135 countries to prevent and respond to violence against women (VAW). For the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we take a closer look at what governments are doing.
Countries with existing capacity have scaled up responses
The highest number of VAW measures (256) have been taken in Europe, Northern America, Australia and New Zealand, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (177 measures).
Yet, even in regions with fewer measures, there are countries that have shown a strong response, particularly to scale up existing VAW prevention and response capacity. A strong, holistic response was taken by Fiji, where the new Gender-Based Violence Working Group for COVID-19 Response designated existing front-line service-providers as essential, and a national campaign raised awareness on the services available.