Close on the heels of early concerns flagging the likelihood of increased levels of violence during the emerging COVID-19 health crisis, are the reports of high numbers of cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse being experienced by women and children, while under lockdown, across the world.

Unequal gendered norms and the ensuing power imbalances create a context where women and children are disproportionately affected by physical and sexual violence in non-emergency contexts. In emergency settings, these dynamics are compounded by a number of additional direct and indirect factors which further heighten vulnerability and result in an escalation of violence against women and children.

A recent rapid review, led by the Center for Global  Development on behalf of the Gender and COVID-19 Working group, identifies pathways contributing to increases in violence against women and children during pandemics. These include increased exposure to perpetrators during quarantine, lower levels of detection of violence due to limited access to health care and social services, stresses related to increased mortality, overburdened households and economic insecurity, perpetrators exerting their power and control in a number of forms, and reduced social support system.

To read the full report, please click here.