New York — An Inter-Agency Statement on Violence against Women and Girls in the Context of COVID-19 was released today, following the UN Secretary General’s appeal to all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19.
“I appealed for an end to violence everywhere, now. But violence is not confined to the battlefield. For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.
The appeal was strongly supported by 146 Member States and Observers.
The new Inter-Agency Statement outlines six critical areas for action.
1. Make urgent and flexible funding available for women’s rights organizations and recognize their role as first responders.
2. Support health and social services to continue their duty of care to violence against women survivors and to remain accessible, especially to those most likely to be left behind.
3. Ensure that services for violence against women and girls survivors are regarded as essential, remain open and are resourced and made accessible especially to those most likely to be left behind.
4. Place a high priority on police and justice responses.
5. Put preventative measures in place.
6. Collect data only if it is clear that it is needed, it will be used to improve services/programmes and ethical and safety standards can be met.
Together with other UN agencies, UNDP is working with more than 80 governments around the world to prevent and address gender-based violence during the COVID-19 crisis. Guidance from UNDP, Gender-based violence and COVID-19, also recommends developing new protocols to provide support via phone or online platforms rather than in person, expanding immediate response services in order to save lives, and ensuring that steps to prevent gender-based violence are in every COVID-19 response plan and budget, among other measures.