COVID-19 and violence against women What the health sector/system can do

Health systems have an important role to play in ensuring services for women who have experienced violence remain safe and accessible during the COVID-19 outbreak

While recognizing that COVID-19 has placed an immense burden on the health systems and health workers in caring for the sick, there are things that can help mitigate the impacts of violence on women and children during this time:
• All stakeholders involved in COVID-19 response need to be aware of and raise awareness of the potential impacts that physical distancing, stay at home and other measures to address this pandemic are likely to have on women who are subjected to violence and their children.
• Health workers, the majority of whom are women in many settings, may be at risk for violence in their homes or in the work place. The latter is a serious problem that may be exacerbated when health systems are under stress. Health managers or facility administrators need to have plans to address the safety of their health workers. Front-line providers dealing with COVID -19 might experience stigmatisation, isolation and being socially ostracised. Providing psychosocial support, non-performance-based incentives, additional transport allowance, child-care support should be planned.

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