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Responding to violence against women and children during COVID-19

November 2021

Impact on service provision, strategies and actions in the WHO European Region (2021)

This report explores the strategies led by government, non-governmental and civil society organizations to prevent and respond to violence against women and children (‎VAWC)‎ during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of the pandemic on service demand across the WHO European Region. An assessment between 1 January and 17 September 2020 included a scoping review of publications and media reports, a survey distributed to the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and violence and injury prevention focal points, and interviews with key informants. Measures to prevent and respond to VAWC were taken by 52 Member States, the most common being the use of media to raise awareness of VAWC and provision of services through online platforms. There was a median reported increase in service demand related to VAWC of approximately 20% overall and 47% for services provided by non-governmental organizations, contrasted with an increase of 6% for law enforcement services and a decrease of 8% for health and social services.

This rapid assessment aims to:

  • explore changes in service demand related to VAWC during the COVID-19 pandemic across Member States of the WHO European Region; and
  • examine measures taken by the Member States to prevent and respond to VAWC during the pandemic.