Women confront pandemic-related violence against women across Europe and Central Asia

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Both globally and across Europe and Central Asia, home confinement and stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated violence against women and girls [see infographic]. In most countries, women’s organizations, hotlines and front-liners have noted sharp increases in calls and reports from locked-down survivors afraid that they have nowhere to turn.

As part of its response, UN Women led a gender rapid assessment of the needs of 50 women’s civil society organizations and beneficiaries in the Western Balkans and Turkey, as well as a separate assessment of services among eight safe houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Albania, UN Women has launched an ‘isolated but not abandoned’ online awareness campaign and worked with the Government in Albania to reopen shelters and launch a video awareness campaign, is providing telephone psychological counselling in Kyrgyzstan, and is advocating for special measures to protect women and girls at risk of violence and to outlaw sexual harassment in Serbia. In Kosovo, UN Women helped open quarantine safe spaces, equip existing shelters to reach more survivors and launched a major online awareness-raising campaign on domestic violence. Meanwhile, NGOs are developing new strategies to support survivors in North Macedonia and activists in Kazakhstan are calling for stronger penalties for aggressors.

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