The United Nations: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged governments to include the protection of women in their response to the deadly new coronavirus pandemic.
Following the massive blockade to stem the spread of the disease, there has been a wave of reports of domestic violence worldwide.
“Violence is not confined to the battlefield,” said Guterres in a statement and video released in multiple languages, days after his call for a worldwide ceasefire in the wake of the outbreak.
“For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes,” he said.
He described the increase in domestic violence as “frightening.” He urged all governments to “prevent and correct violence against women as an important part of their national COVID-19 response plan.”
According to the National Women’s Council of India, in the first week of nationwide movement restrictions, there were twice as many cases of domestic violence in India as usual.
Authorities say French cases rose by a third within a week of France’s blockade, and Australia reported that the number of internet searches related to supporting victims of domestic violence had increased by 75%.
Guterres called for setting up emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries, and for safe ways “for women to seek support, without alerting their abusers.”
“Together, we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to people’s homes, as we work to beat COVID-19,” he said, as he called “for peace at home — and in homes — around the world.”