UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of an “appalling global outbreak” of domestic violence during the coronavirus crisis and urged governments to step up efforts to prevent violence against women.
“We know that blockages and quarantines are essential to remove COVID-19. But they can trap women with violent partners, ”said António Guterres in a video message posted on Twitter on Sunday. “For many women and girls, the threat is greatest where they should be most secure – in their own homes. “
In some countries, the number of women calling for support services has doubled, health care providers and police are overwhelmed and understaffed, and local support groups are “paralyzed” or short of funds, said the head of the UN.
Peace is not only the absence of war. Many women in detention for # COVID19 deal with violence where they should be most secure: at home.
Today I call for peace in homes around the world.
I urge all governments to make the safety of women a priority in their response to the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/PjDUTrMb9v
– António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 6, 2020
He called on governments around the world to ensure that prosecutions of perpetrators continue, to set up emergency alert systems in pharmacies and grocery stores, and to declare women’s shelters essential services.
António Guterres called for safe means “so that women seek support, without alerting their attackers”.
“Together, we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to homes, as we work to beat COVID-19,” he said as he called for “peace in the country – and in homes – all over the world. “
“I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key component of their national response plans to COVID-19. “
Countries, including Germany, have warned that movement restrictions on the public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are threatening to aggravate domestic violence.