Seminar on the topic of sexual, domestic, and gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Girls, which runs from November 25th till December 10th, AkiDwA have partnered with Forum to host this seminar focusing on the prevalence of sexual, domestic, and gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the latest estimates, nearly 1 in 3 women aged 15 years and older, around the world have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, non-partner or both, at least once in their lifetime, indicating that levels of VAWG (violence against women and girls) have remained largely unchanged over the last decade. These numbers do not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and would be even higher if they included the full continuum of violence that affect women and girls including sexual harassment, violence in digital contexts, harmful practices and sexual exploitation.
COVID-19 has exacerbated all the risk factors for VAWG, including unemployment and poverty, and reinforced many of the root causes such as gender stereotypes and harmful social norms. It has been estimated that 11 million girls may not return to school because of COVID-19, thereby increasing their risk of child marriage. The economic fallout is expected to push 47 million more women and girls into extreme poverty in 2021, reversing decades of progress and perpetuating structural inequalities that reinforce VAWG. Emerging data from a recent multi-country rapid gender assessment on the impact of COVID-19 on VAW by UN Women, using innovative remote data collection methods, confirm an increase of VAW as a result of COVID-19 in Cameroon, Kenya, Thailand and Ukraine. More data will soon be available for 9 more countries.
Ireland is no exception to these issues; in November of 2020 the Irish Times reported a sharp increase in women and children fleeing domestic violence. Figures show that an average of almost 2,000 women and 411 children were in receipt of some kind of support from domestic violence services – such as a refuge, counselling, accompaniment, information or advice – each month since March 2020. In June of 2021 Women’s Aid—a support service for abused women—highlighted a 43 per cent increase in contacts with its services when compared to 2019.
By holding this seminar, AkiDwA and Forum seek to advocate for inclusive, comprehensive and long-term strategies, programmes and resources to prevent and eliminate VAWG in public and private spaces prioritizing the most marginalized women and girls whilst amplifying the success stories demonstrating that VAWG is preventable by showcasing effective strategies and interventions to inspire all actors to scale up what works.
Please come along for this incredibly important event!
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