Mitigating Gender-Based Violence Risk in the context of COVID-19: Lessons from Humanitarian Crises

Sharma, V. Ausubel, E. Heckman, C. et al.
Publication language
Date published
24 Feb 2021
BMJ Global Health
Research, reports and studies
COVID-19, Gender, Protection, human rights & security, Social protection, Gender Equality (SDG)

The COVID-19 pandemic is directing muchneeded attention to gender-based violence (GBV) worldwide and is particularly shining a light on the hidden epidemic of intimate partner violence (IPV). In recent months, there has been a plethora of high-profile statements calling for measures to address the GBV ‘shadow pandemic’. For example, a joint statement by 146 UN member states and observers declared support for the UN Secretary General’s appeal to prioritise prevention and redress of violence against women in national COVID-19 response plans. This is an important opportunity to translate attention to action.

Much of the advocacy on GBV in the context of COVID-19 has focused on two areas: strengthening response services for GBV survivors and enhancing prevention efforts targeting root causes of violence. However, the third pillar of action for addressing GBV— GBV risk mitigation—is also crucial. GBV risk mitigation interventions aim to reduce exposure to GBV and ensure that humanitarian response actions and services themselves do not cause harm or increase risk of violence. This approach also seeks to proactively identify and reduce the risks of violence related to humanitarian programming.

Integrating GBV risk mitigation into COVID-19 response measures, alongside strengthened GBV prevention and response, is critical to effectively addressing this double pandemic. The global community must back up commitments with investment and action to improve the safety and well-being of women and girls now and in future crises.

Sharma, V. Ausubel, E. Heckman, C. et al.