COVID-19 and GBV (+intro)

COVID-19 special: GBV including domestic violence during lockdown 
(the general intro to this thematic page can be found below)

Messages from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres  on COVID-19 and GBV 
United Nations, 2020
On April 5, 2020, the UN Secretary-General had a video message appealing for peace at home in addition to his appeal for in immediate a global ceasefire global ceasefire to focus on our shared struggle to overcome the pandemic. He said: “I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19”. On April 9 he warned that “limited gains in gender equality and women’s rights made over the decades are in danger of being rolled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic” and urged governments to “put women and girls at centre of COVID-19 recovery”.

Q&A: Violence against women during COVID-19
WHO, April 2020
Answers to central questions such as what to do when home is not a safe place for you or when you suspect someone might be abused in their home during the coronavirus lockdown.

COVID-19 and violence against women: What the health sector/system can do
WHO, April 2020
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has placed an immense burden on health systems, including frontline health  workers, there are things that can help mitigate the effects of violence on women and children.

Gender-based violence and COVID-19 webinar
Physicians for Human Rights, May 2020
With Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Dr. Lori Heise, and Wengechi Wachira
PHR held a webinar conversation addressing how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the crisis of sexual and gender-based violence and intimate partner violence. The discussion covered the issue in the global context, how existing response programs may be adapted to protect survivors amid restrictions on movement during the pandemic, and possible solutions and policies to protect survivors and prevent and/or reduce violence in the long-term.

Violence Against Women and Girls: Data Collection during COVID-19
UN Women and WHO, April 2020
This is a living document that summarizes principles and recommendations to those planning to embark on data collection on the impact of COVID-19 on violence against women and girls (VAWG). It was informed by the needs and challenges identified by colleagues in regional and country offices and has benefited from their input. It responds to the difficulties of adhering to methodological, ethical and safety principles in the context of the physical distancing and staying at home measures imposed in many countries.

Call for submissions: COVID-19 and the increase of domestic violence against women
UNHCR, 2020
As initial police and hotline reports suggest, domestic violence has already surged in many countries, as measures imposing isolation compel a number of women to be kept at home under the same roof with perpetrators, thus exacerbating women’s vulnerability to domestic violence, including femicides. The risk is aggravated by fewer police interventions; the closure of courts and limited access to justice; the closure of shelters and services for victims, and reduced access to reproductive health services.
Special Rapporteur on violence against women wishes to receive all relevant information on the increase of gender-based violence against women and domestic violence in the context of the COVID-19. All submissions should be sent to as soon as possible, and will be received until 30 June 2020 (more information can be found here).

GBV Case Management and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Gender-Based Violence AoR, 2020
Robyn Yaker and Dorcas Erskine
This note aims to provide practical support to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) practitioners to adapt
GBV case management service delivery models quickly and ethically during the current COVID-19
pandemic. It does not address all aspects of a gendered analysis that are necessary to create a robust
response, nor is it a definitive set of guidelines. Rather, it is designed to be a “living” document, that
will continue to draw upon the expertise of the global community in this new and evolving field. It
assumes that users of this note already understand and are familiar with GBV case management.

Gender Equality and Addressing Gender-based Violence (GBV) and Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Prevention, Protection and Response
UNFPA, March 2020
Core Message: The pandemic will compound existing gender inequalities, and increase risks of gender-based violence. The protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls should be prioritized.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Planning and Ending Gender-based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage
UNFPA, April 2020
UNFPA aims to achieve three world-changing results by 2030, the deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. These are: Ending unmet need for family planning, ending gender-based violence  including harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage, and ending all preventable maternal deaths. This analysis shows how the COVID-19 pandemic could critically undermine progress made towards achieving these goals.

Silent solutions available to quarantined survivors of domestic violence
UNFPA, May 2020
Amid a surge in calls for help, counsellors and police are pivoting to new modes of communication in Ukraine. UNFPA is working closely with the police to ensure survivors have access to protection and justice. They want people to know help is available, even under quarantine.

Identifying & Mitigating Gender-based Violence Risks within the COVID-19 Response
Global Protection Cluster and IASC, April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present an array of challenges, forcing nearly all types of basic service delivery – including, but not limited to, humanitarian response – to drastically adapt. Given how quickly the outbreak continues to evolve; the variation across contexts in the impact of the disease and the measures being implemented to control its spread; and the lack of documented good practice for delivering aid and services under such conditions, to a large extent the entire international system is learning as we go. As such, this document presents an initial summary of potential GBV risk mitigation actions, based on established good practice, that are starting points to address GBV risks in this unprecedented situation. The GBV risk mitigation actions summarized below are presented in the spirit of collective and iterative problem-solving.


General intro to this thematic page 

In 1993, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women offered the first official definition of the term “gender-based violence” (GBV): “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” Gender-based violence has become an umbrella term for any harm that is perpetrated against a person’s will, and that results from power inequalities that are based on gender roles. Both women and men, as well as girls and boys, are victims of gender-based violence. Even so, around the world, gender-based violence is most often perpetrated against women and girls.  For this reason the term “gender-based violence” is sometimes used interchangeably with the term “violence against women” (VAW).

For many years gender-based violence was not considered to be a part of the international human rights agenda. In the year 2000, when the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1325 on Women, peace and security, this changed. This resolution as well as subsequent resolutions of what became known as the Women, peace and security (WPS) agenda, both demonstrated the importance of GBV and the willingness in the international community to denounce, prohibit and stop GBV.

GBV can occur throughout a person’s lifecycle, and can include everything from early childhood marriage and female genital mutilation (for women and girls), to sexual abuse in times of conflict or in times of peace, domestic violence, legal discrimination and exploitation.

It is extremely important to meet survivors in a respectful and dignified manner.

Below we have collected some useful links about GBV.