United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called upon governments around the world to take steps in order to curb domestic violence cases that have witnessed a surge amid pandemic. UN chief has repeatedly called for a global ceasefire to fight the common enemy but, on April 5, he highlighted that violence is not confined to the battlefield.
“For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their homes,” said Guterres in a statement.
The UN chief made an appeal for “peace at home” around the world emphasising that lockdowns and quarantines are necessary for suppressing the coronavirus, however, it can trap women with abusive partners. He added that there has been a “horrifying global surge” in domestic violence as economic and social pressures and fear have grown due to the pandemic.
Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 6, 2020
Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world.
I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/PjDUTrMb9v
Guterres urged the government around the world to redress violence against women as a key part of their national response plan for COVID-19. He has asked for increased investment in online services and civil society organisations and making sure judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers.
“Setting up emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries, declaring shelters for essential services, declaring safe ways for women to seek support, without alerting their abusers,” suggested the UN chief.
Violence against women is a significant public health concern and a World Health Organisation (WHO) report says that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced domestic abuse, excluding sexual harassment, at some point in their lives. Guterres said that the number of women calling support services has doubled in some countries and health care providers and police are overwhelmed and understaffed to redress it.