Violence against women

List Map
Catalyzing Rights and Violence against women

Relevant sources: ICCPR Arts. 2(1), 3, 7, 17, 24(1), 26; ICESCR Arts. 2(2), 3, 12; CAT Arts. 1, 16; CEDAW; CRC Arts. 2(1), 3, 16, 19-20, 24(1), (3), 34, 36, 37(a), 39; CRPD Arts. 3, 6, 8(1)(b), 15-16, 22, 25; ICERD Art. 5(b); ICRMW Arts. 1(1), 7, 10, 14, 16(2), 28, 43(1)(e), 45(1)(c); UDHR Arts. 2, 5, 7, 12

Core elements of the guarantee during the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Ensure to “[u]pdate referral pathways to reflect changes in available care facilities” and that “key communities and service providers” are informed about these updates (OHCHR)
  • Guarantee that “those who break lockdown rules to report or flee from violence are exempt from punishment” (OHCHR)
  • Guarantee to “prevent and protect women from, and hold perpetrators accountable for, gender-based violence against women” including by “ensur[ing] that measures taken to contain the pandemic through restrictions on movement and imposed home confinement do not have the unintended consequence of enabling and increasing violence against women and domestic violence at home” and that “women . . . have access to holistic and integrated services and measures to protect them from gender-based violence” (UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences)
  • Guarantee “that assistance and support services for women and girls who are victims of violence during quarantine are considered to be an essential element for the protection of their human rights” and “ensure their continued availability” (UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences)
  • Collect “data on gender-based violence and femicide or gender-related killings of women during the COVID-19 pandemic” (UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences)
  • Put into place “around-the-clock national toll-free telephone helplines for victims” as well as “alternative options” such as “text messaging services and e-helplines” that “provide confidential advice,” respect “victim’s anonymity,” and can “handle emergency admission to shelters” (UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences)
  • Set up a “sufficient number of safe shelters or other safe places . . . for women and children who are victims of violence,” including “remote psychological counselling services” and “protocols for the safe accommodation and care of women who are not admitted to such services owing to their exposure to COVID-19” (UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences)
  • Guarantee “access to courts and other competent authorities” for the issuance of “protection orders for all forms of violence against women” and ensure that these orders are “adequately adapted to the COVID-19 context” including “access to e-protection orders and e-emergency orders available online and ex parte” (UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences)
  • Pay “[s]pecific attention . . . to intersectional violence against women and girls from marginalized groups” and account for “their specific needs . . .  in terms of accountability for protection measures and services” (UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences)
  • Ensure “availability of safe shelters, hotlines and remote psychological counselling services and inclusive and accessible specialised and effective security systems” and “address women’s mental health issues, which stem from violence, social isolation and related depression” including “in rural communities” and for “women and girls with disabilities” (UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women)
  • Ensure to “[i]ntegrat[e] prevention efforts and services to respond to violence against women into COVID-19 response plans,” “[d]esignat[e] domestic violence shelters as essential services and increase[e] resources to them, and to civil society groups on the front line of response,” “[e]xpand[] the capacity of shelters for victims of violence by re-purposing other spaces, such as empty hotels, or education institutions, to accommodate quarantine needs,” and “integrat[e] considerations of accessibility for all” (UN)
  • Ensure to “[d]esignat[e] safe spaces for women where they can report abuse without alerting perpetrators,” “[m]ov[e] services online,” and “[s]tep[]up advocacy and awareness campaigns” (UN)

Further guidance can be found here: Joint Statement; UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls; UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; UNDP and UN Women; UN Women; ACHPR; ASEAN; COE; IAHCR: International Women’s Day, The IACHR calls on Member States; OAS

Note: The category of “violence against women” consists of positive steps taken by governments to address this particular violation during the pandemic. Given that the gendered impacts of the pandemic are intersectional and extend beyond violence against women and girls, measures that seek to protect other aspects of women’s and girls’ rights are integrated throughout the tracker in other categories (including children, economic and fiscal policy responses, employment, LGBTIQ+, reproductive rights, and technology and digital rights).


Show me of advances during COVID-19

Showing 12 matching measures.

Measure Country
Launch and Dissemination of Policy Briefs and Infographics on Fulfillment of Women’s Constitutional Rights, Impacts and Policies and Women’s Resilience in the Time of the Covid-19 Pandemic Indonesia

The National Commission on Violence against Women “responded to the situation of violence and the handling of violence against women in the era of the Covid 19 pandemic . ….

Call 1010 for Domestic Violence Help Bhutan

According to a royal decree “all necessary measures” were ordered to “be put in place to assist any person who is experiencing or feels at risk of domestic violence and…

Mechanisms to Fight Violence against Women France

Noting that “[t]he period of health crisis linked to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) required specific measures to be taken to maintain access to fundamental rights in terms of equality between women…

QC Opens Shelter for Abused Women, Children and LGBTs Philippines

The government of Quezon City “opened one of the first local government unit (LGU)-run shelters for abused women, children and LGBTs.” The shelter “will serve as a temporary shelter for…

The Ministry of Women Decides to Incorporate the WhatsApp [Helpline] as a Permanent Care Service (Ministerio de la Mujer Decide Incorporar el Whatsapp de Ayuda a Mujeres Como Servicio Permanente de Atención) Chile

The Minister of Women and Gender Equity, jointly with other government institutions, announced that the WhatsApp of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equity, which “offers help through silent messages…

Domestic Violence: Detailed Information United Kingdom

The “Domestic Violence: Detailed Information” section of the United Kingdom’s government website contains a number of different documents on domestic abuse. These include the following: “Domestic abuse: how to get…

Guidelines for Staff and Personnel in Quarantine Centres Vietnam

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs “in cooperation with technical assistance” from UNICEF and UN Women “developed and disseminated” guidelines aimed at “ensur[ing] safety for children and women…

Measure to Address Increased Vulnerability Due to the Coronavirus Sweden

The government “intend[ed] to adopt an ordinance on government grants to allocate SEK 100 million to non-profit organisation activities addressing increased vulnerability resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19” which would…

Operation Faoiseamh – An Garda Síochána ‘STILL HERE’ to Listen to Help and to Protect Ireland

In April 2020, “Operation Faoiseamh” was started “with the goal of providing enhanced proactive support to victims of domestic abuse.” The program was part of the “community engagement response to…

High Court of Jammu and Kashmir at Jammu, Writ Petition in Public Interest India

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir issued a “writ petition in public interest” in which it recognized the “steep rise” in “complaints relating to crime against women” including domestic…

Decree 460 of 2020: By Which Measures are Dictated to Guarantee the Provision of the Service in Charge of Family Police Stations, within the State of Economic, Social and Ecological Emergency (Decreto 460 de 2020: Por el Cual se Dictan Medidas para Garantizar la Prestación del Servicio a Cargo de las Comisarías de Familia, Dentro del Estado de Emergencia Económica, Social y Ecológica) Colombia

In order to ensure the continuation of services to address violence against women, and to have in place a framework that incorporates a focus on gender in the response to…

Mask-19 Spain

The objective of Mask-19 is for women facing “a situation of risk or danger for their physical, psychological and/or or sexual integrity, both in their closest family environment and on…

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