Staying Safe During COVID-19

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The coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic has upended life as we know it.

With movements restricted, access to resources limited, and health care systems overstretched, we know that interpersonal violence will be exacerbated, with women and children being particularly vulnerable.

While it is clear that children, adolescents, and women are facing increased threats to their safety and well-being, we can make a difference. There are actions we can all take – whether as parents, educators, or policymakers – to prevent and reduce violence.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we must redouble our efforts to create a world where every person can live free from violence.

Learn more about our efforts in the United States to Keep Kids Safe.

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN AND WOMEN

While many children and adolescents are out of school and staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, we know that home is not always a safe place. The Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) shows that children and adolescents often face a great risk of witnessing or experiencing violence in the home and that parents and caregivers are often perpetrators of violence.

 

The same is true for women, who are most likely to experience violence from a partner. Furthermore, the data show that poverty and food insecurity—factors that we know are heightened in emergency contexts like COVID-19 —often drive or exacerbate violence against children and women.

We also know that women and girls face unique risks in crises, which further compound existing issues of gender inequality.

While it is clear that children, adolescents, and women are facing increased threats to their safety and well-being, we can make a difference. There are actions we can all take – whether as parents, educators, or policymakers – to prevent and reduce violence.

Please see below for helpful information and resources. Together we can prevent violence against children and women, during the COVID-19 global health crisis and beyond.

COVID-19 TOOLS AND RESOURCES

See below for resources and tools to help stay safe during this pandemic, and check back frequently as we update this page.  If you have resources you’d like to add to this page, please email us at info(@)togetherforgirls.org. 

If you or someone you know is currently experiencing violence, please visit Child Helpline International for a list of helplines by country.

Protecting Children During COVID-19

Even before COVID-19, Violence Against Children Survey (VACS) data shows that children experience unacceptable levels of violence, which could be compounded by the crisis. See below for some helpful resources on protecting children during this time:

Close up of three shy girls laughing and smiling while they´re playing with a lemon

For Policymakers

Resources for researchers, policymakers and more

  • UNICEF has a document offering guidance to employers on family-friendly policies, including safe workplaces, during COVID-19.
  • The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and the Office of the Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children hosted a webinar on tackling violence against children amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, UNICEF, and the WHO published a technical note shedding light on the challenges children face while sheltered in place, and providing prevention and response mechanisms to combat child abuse.
  • The UN released a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on children, which includes a series of immediate and sustained actions for the attention of governments and policymakers.
  • The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action developed a technical note that aims to support child protection actors working with communities to keep children safe, and help them adapt their programming to the contagious environment of COVID-19. They also launched a podcast series called “Protected! The COVID-19 Edition” to share stories on child protection programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • World Vision published a report highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on violence against children, including predictions in cases of violence in the months and years to come.
  • The Girls’ Education Challenge developed a guidance note outlining strategies for keeping in contact with girls during COVID-19 from a safeguarding perspective.
  • Plan International published a report highlighting the effects of COVID-19 on girls. It includes recommendations for mitigating the impacts on girls and protecting their rights, safety, and well-being.
  • The WePROTECT Global Alliance developed an intelligence brief on the impact of COVID-19 on the threat and response to online child sexual exploitation.
a father playing with his daughter

For Parents

Tools for caregivers and parents

  • UNICEF has a COVID-19 resource hub with tips and guidance for families during COVID19, including tips for parents on talking to their children about COVID-19 and advice for youth on how to protect their mental health.
  • The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children has a comprehensive bank of resources on protecting children from violence. They also, in collaboration with the WHO, USAID, UNICEF, the CDC, the Internet of Good Things, and Parenting for Lifelong Health, created six one-pagers on healthy parenting during COVID-19, translated into 35+ languages, as well as a set of social media squares to accompany the healthy parenting messages.
  • Prevent Child Abuse America pulled together a list of advice for parents to help maintain their health and well-being during this time. Materials include tips for managing stress, ideas for staying connected, and helpful age-appropriate tools on how to explain the novel coronavirus to children, including a step-by-step hand washing guide by Elmo from Sesame Street.
  • Darkness to Light developed a curriculum with guidance on keeping children safe during the pandemic, including tips on hiring caregivers and free training on conversing with children to build trust.
  • Save the Children has a resource hub providing tools and tips for parents, caregivers, and teachers on coping with COVID-19, including how to help kids cope with extended school closure and stress. Save the Children and the Child Protection Area of Responsibility developed a guide to help children mourn for those they lost while they cannot attend funerals or similar services due to COVID-19.
  • Child Helpline International has a collection of COVID-19 resources and tools to support children and young people, such as information on how to talk to children about the coronavirus and coping with stress during the crisis. 
  • SOS Children’s Villages has a blog featuring helpful tips on how to speak to your child about the coronavirus.
  • Thinkuknow has a variety of resources to protect children from harm, including parent help sheets and cartoons about online safety.
  • The Learning Network produced a backgrounder sharing important considerations and strategies for keeping children safe during COVID-19, including ways to support children’s mental health and well-being, how to speak with children about online safety, and more.
An Adolescent Balochi Girl in her traditional Balochi Jewelry and Dress. Shot at Baloch Culture day, Quetta.

Managing Mental Health

Resources to help manage stress and mental health

  • CDC has a resource bank detailing how to cope with stress, including specific tips for parents to best support their children. Resources include activities to help children cope with emergencies and more.
  • Child Protection Hub has a resource hub with materials related to COVID-19 and its impact on children, from mental health support to digital safety guidance. Resources include a webinar on managing the psychological impact of the novel coronavirus and narrative games for children that promote emotional awareness.
  • The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a list of fact sheets providing guidance for parents, caregivers, and teachers on coping with stress, helping children manage their stress, and more.

Keeping Adolescent Girls and Women Safe During COVID-19

Girls and women, who are already disproportionately impacted by domestic and sexual violence,  face unique risks during COVID-19. See below for the latest resources: 

For Policymakers

Policy briefs and other materials for policymakers

  • The UN has a policy brief examining the impact of COVID-19 on girls and women and includes recommendations for response plans.
  • WHO has materials on COVID-19 and violence against women, including guidance for governments, health providers, community members, and more in addressing violence against women during COVID-19.
  • UN Women has a resource hub including various news pieces related to gender and COVID-19, as well as emerging gender data and information on violence against women and girls during COVID-19. Resources include videos on how women are impacted by crises like the novel coronavirus and gender data infographics
  • CARE International, in consultation with the IRC, developed a Global Rapid Gender Analysis on COVID-19 with key findings showing the gender impacts of COVID-19, including the impacts on gender-based violence (GBV) as a result of lockdowns. They also developed a policy brief highlighting the unique dimensions of GBV and COVID-19, including recommendations for donors, governments, and humanitarian organizations.
  • The World Food Programme gender office has a handout explaining how COVID-19 impacts women and girls. The document includes recommendations for humanitarian and development actors to ensure effective and equitable responses, such as by putting GBV support networks in place.
  • The Center for Global Development has a blog series about the impact of pandemics on violence against women and children (VAW/C), including a list of policy and program responses that can protect them during the novel coronavirus. They also published a report outlining the links between pandemics and VAW/C, including policy and program responses that can be used to mitigate increases.
Two Happy Friends/sisters Having Fun

For Researchers

Technical briefs and other resources for researchers

  • UNICEF has a technical note detailing five actions for gender equality they are prioritizing in the COVID-19 response, including caring for caregivers and preparing for increases in GBV. They also published a brief providing ideas for reaching survivors who cannot easily access phone-based GBV support.
  • UN Women and the WHO published a document summarizing recommendations for those collecting data on the impact of COVID-19 on violence against women and girls (VAWG).
  • UN Women published a technical brief highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls and providing recommendations for all sectors of society to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.
  • UNFPA has a COVID-19 page with information and news pieces covering the effects of the novel coronavirus on existing gender inequalities, including technical briefs on the link between COVID-19 and gender, GBV, and more.
  • The Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) published a blog providing information on how to shift from planned in-person intimate partner violence focused surveys to remote data collection methods during COVID-19.
  • Data2x has a running list of resources and current reporting on gender and gender data as they relate to COVID-19 preparedness and response around the world. 
  • Women Deliver has a COVID-19 page with resources on coronavirus and gender equality, including webinars and blogs to promote gender equality.
Two high school age Honduran girls from the island of Roatan have big toothy smiles on their face as they pose on a front porch. There is a washing machine on the porch. They are smiling at each other. Shot taken with Canon 5D Mark lll.

For Program Implementers

Resources for program implementers and survivors

  • WHO created a webpage offering a set of questions and answers regarding violence against women during COVID-19, including questions like “Home is not a safe place for me. What can I do?” and “I am worried about someone I know. How can I help?”
  • UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee published a document explaining the gender-based violence risks to adolescent girls during COVID-19, as well as key considerations for programming to best protect and empower them.
  • UN Women published a brief highlighting the causes of violence against women, and providing violence prevention strategies for schools, employers, media outlets, and more, specifically during COVID-19.
  • UNDP published a briefing note providing concrete actions and strategies that UNDP, UN agencies, and other development partners can take to prevent and address GBV in the context of COVID-19.
  • Futures Without Violence has a list of resources for survivors, communities, and domestic violence/sexual assault programs, including hotline numbers and safety plans.
  • Save the Children has a fact sheet, “Adolescent Girls and COVID-19: GBV Risks and Response,” which highlights how health crises like COVID-19 expose and exacerbate existing inequalities and risks for girls around the world, and explains steps that all actors can take in the prevention, mitigation and response to gender-based violence (GBV).
  • Every Woman Every Child has a COVID-19 resource hub providing information and resources on the novel coronavirus as it relates to women and children, as well as a series of interviews with experts sharing insights into how COVID-19 is affecting women, children and adolescents. 
  • Girls Not Brides has a brief providing insights and resources for responding to the needs of adolescent girls during and after this crisis. 
  • Raising Voices has developed a series of practical Guidance Notes to support activist organizations in adapting and sustaining their violence against women prevention activities.
  • Global Rights for Women launched a webinar series featuring experts from around the world discussing strategies for promoting safety for victims of violence and responding to increases in GBV during COVID-19.
  • Inter-American Development Bank published a document summarizing key actions and lessons for organizations to prevent and respond to violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) has a list of resources to help inform responses to domestic violence during COVID-19, including resources for domestic violence shelters, survivors, and more.
  • COFEM developed a list of resources including articles, webinars, guidance notes, and more on how to sustain and support violence against women prevention and mitigation work alongside COVID-19 containment strategies.
  • The Inter-Agency Standing Committee Gender-based Violence (GBV) Guidelines has a resource bank providing COVID-19 gender and GBV resources, including a pocket guide with steps on how to support survivors of GBV for non-GBV specialists.
  • Sanctuary for Families published a safety planning guide for survivors of domestic violence. The guide includes tips on how to reduce the risk of harm in unsafe situations with an abuser or family member during COVID-19.
  • The Prevention Collaborative has a resource hub with articles, infographics, and podcasts on preventing violence against women and children during COVID-19.

Education and COVID-19

1.5 billion children are impacted by school closures worldwide caused by COVID-19. While transitions like moving to online classrooms can cause stress for students, parents, and teachers, these resources can help:  

  • The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children has teamed up with companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google to develop a new campaign to help keep children safe online during COVID-19, featuring platform-specific resources like a Facebook parent’s portal.
  • UNICEF has articles containing guidance for teachers on how to talk with their students about the novel coronavirus and how to support their ability to cope with its impacts on their lives. They also released a framework for reopening schools, outlining key priorities for decision-makers, including children’s well-being and protection, when assessing whether to reopen schools.
  • UNESCO has a resource hub dedicated to COVID-19 educational response, where you can find insights into the impact of coronavirus on education, as well as resources for parents and teachers to facilitate students’ distant learning during this time.
  • Partners from the Safe to Learn coalition developed guidance for facilitating safe, effective online learning experiences for children during COVID-19.
  • Malala Fund released a report on the impact of COVID-19 on girls’ education and how Malala Fund Education Champions are helping girls learn during the pandemic.
  • RAINN has articles tailored to parents and caregivers for protecting their children from sexual assault, which children are at hightened risk for while spending an increasing amount of time online. 
  • ISPCAN has a resource page with resources for child protection professionals, as well as information on the impact of COVID-19 on child protection and healthy parenting tips.
  • The National Association of School Psychologists has a resource hub to support the well-being of students, families, and teachers during COVID-19. The hub includes publications on helping children cope with changes resulting from the novel coronavirus and distance learning tips.
  • Human Rights Watch has an article explaining the effects of COVID-19 on childrens’ education and violence in the home, as well as recommendations for what can be done to help
  • The Center for Global Development developed a policy brief on the gendered impacts of COVID-19 school closures. It includes insights from frontline organizations on the challenges they’re facing in light of COVID-19 closures, particularly for girls.
  • The Global Education Cluster and the Child Protection Area of Responsibility developed a “Safe Back to School” guide to help program teams plan an integrated, participatory process for safe school reopening in the context of COVID-19.

COVID-19 MATERIALS FROM TOGETHER FOR GIRLS

Stay up to date on the news around COVID-19 and its impact on women and children.

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