It is encouraging to read about how our collective community is responding to incredibly difficult issues in these trying times. For example, the topic about ensuring an effective response for incarcerated people in prisons has been truly heartening given the circumstances surrounding incarcerated people right now, especially seeing concrete examples of innovative approaches being used.
One area of grave concern is the troubling increase in gender-based violence that is spreading globally. The UN Secretary General Guterres spoke this week calling for a “domestic violence ceasefire” during the “horrifying global surge” happening currently. Many countries are seeing cases of gender-based violence more than double at a time where people are being ordered to stay home, under curfew in many places, while police can be reluctant to respond or even actively exacerbating the situation.
I am copying a list of general recommendations released by UN Women below, and there are virtual events like this webinar on GBV from South Africa last month, or the network’s own webinar next Tuesday, April 14th that will feature @jasminkafriscik speaking about legal empowerment approaches to women’s rights. However I would appreciate hearing what members are doing practically under these circumstances. What is happening in your community? What is working? Do you know of urgent funding being opened up, or other innovative approaches that are being employed to address GBV victims under lockdown?
I acknowledge and respect that many of you are particularly busy and overly stressed right now, and I believe that a dialogue on constructive responses would surely be appreciated by your global colleagues struggling through this.
UN domestic violence reduction recommendations
- Increase investment in online services and civil society organizations,
- Make sure judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers,
- Set up emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries,
- Declare shelters as essential services,
- Create safe ways for women to seek support, without alerting their abusers,
- Avoid releasing prisoners convicted of violence against women in any form,
- Scale up public awareness campaigns, particularly those targeted at men and boys.