Needs of women affected by gender-based violence during COVID-19 crisis

During the state of emergency, the needs of women affected by violence include the basic necessities, financial needs, medical and legal assistance, psychological counseling and psycho-emotional support. These are the results of the rapid assessment “Needs of women affected by gender-based violence and systemic response to cases of domestic violence in the context of COVID-19 crisis” that was carried out by UN Women Moldova in cooperation with the International Center “La Strada” Moldova and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, with financial support from Sweden, IPN reports.

In an online press club meeting, Daniela Misail-Nichitin, director of the “La Strada” Women’s Program, said the main task is to generate a set of recommendations that would help the vulnerable categories to cope with crisis situations.

The study shows the average age of women who asked for assistance oscillates between 25 and 44. 80% of them have secondary education. Most of them are from towns and are mothers to one-three children. The challenges faced by women during the state of emergency are related to the considerably reduced purchasing power, pressure generated by the closure of kindergartens and schools and the difficult access to services and authorities following the imposed restrictions.

Specialists also face different challenges during the state of emergency, such as the risk and fear of infection with the novel coronavirus, insufficiency or lack of personal protective equipment and necessary technical equipment, reorganization of the work regime and provision of online services to victims of domestic violence and victims protection measures that weren’t always efficient.

Oxana Paierele, programs coordinator at the Embassy of Sweden in Moldova, said that Sweden provides assistance to programs whose goal is to ensure gender equality and to fight domestic violence. “What has happened during the last few months showed that this crisis targeted all the social groups, the vulnerable persons, and possibly, in particular aspects, generated a wide discrepancy and deepened this vulnerability. Studies are not made for the sake of an analytical exercise, but with the aim of being later used in the field and turned into a work instrument,” stated Oxana Paierele.

The rapid assessment was conducted in May – July 2020 in a move to realize the crisis’ impact on the women affected by violence, to analyze the challenges related to the systemic response to cases of domestic violence and to identify possible systemic changes needed to cope with crisis situations.

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