Preventing sexual and other forms of gender-based violence (SGBV) before it happens and meeting the needs of all survivors should always be a priority – but it becomes even more of a compelling priority during pandemics and other emergencies. Such crisis situations might exacerbate already existing risks of SGBV. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has forced upon us a reality check on progress (or lack of it) made on the gendered responses to end SGBV.
Confinement is expected to increase risks of intimate partner violence as well as reduce access to regular lifesaving SGBV services, said Dr Chivorn Var, Executive Director of Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC) and Convener of 10th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR10). In China during the pandemic, the number of domestic violence complaints to the local police station tripled. In India during the lockdown, the number of domestic violence complaints almost doubled.