COVID-19 disproportionately impacts women and girls.
Reduced access to protective services, higher rates of unemployment, and a greater burden of domestic duties leave women at greater risk of violence, privately and publicly.
In April 2020, data from the United Nations Population Fund predicted at least
15 million more cases of domestic violence globally this year, as a result of pandemic restrictions.
Stress on families has risen, while freedom of movement and privacy have decreased, leaving women already experiencing violence in their home particularly vulnerable.
Here in Australia, new data from the NSW Government suggests that domestic violence has risen, with a 10% increase in access to support services in March.
In Nepal, despite 1 in 4 women experiencing emotional, physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes, reports of gender-based violence to the police have dropped drastically since lockdown. Disturbingly, this suggests women are struggling to access help, with loss of funding and disruption to support services.
Why does a pandemic aggravate violence against women?
What are we doing to respond to the crisis in Nepal?
COVID-19 responses need to prioritise women's voices, decision-making and needs.
We are ensuring support services are available and consistent for women exiting exploitative situations.
Our partner's team of experienced social workers and counsellors are continuing to provide trauma-informed care to survivors of trafficking and abuse, and are helping them navigate the new anxieties of lockdown.
We are strengthening families.
Recognising how critical family stability is to avoiding violence, we have sent $5,000 in emergency funding to support mostly single mother families, who have lost their income and are struggling to meet their basic needs.
We are building opportunities for safe employment post-lockdown.
We are working with our partner to scale their women-led catering business to offer secure income generation options for women that have lost their jobs.
Help us continue this work.
Our partner has had the majority of their donors withdraw or freeze funding. We are aiming to meet their funding shortfall of $123,000 to get 171 women and girls through this difficult year.