Families staying safe covid

Staying safe during COVID-19

Staying safe COVID-19

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.

Keep Kids Safe

Keep Kids Safe

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:

Resources for researchers and policy makers
  • UNICEF has a document offering guidance to employers on family-friendly policies, including safe workplaces, during COVID-19. They also shared a publication documenting what has happened to violence prevention and response services across the world as a result of COVID-19, and highlighting what governments should prioritize to protect children from violence. UNICEF also has a report that draws on pre-COVID data to highlight how children with disabilities face greater risks in the midst of the pandemic, and includes examples of what has been done to address disruptions in services ranging from education to child protection.
  • 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 Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and partners developed a guidance note to help organizations keep children safe in virtual speaking environments during COVID-19.
  • 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. They also published a report on consultations they conducted with children and young people explaining the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, including examples of violence they’ve witnessed, and providing recommendations for COVID-19 response strategies.
  • 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.
  • Save the Children developed a policy brief to guide national governments, humanitarian actors, and more in preventing and mitigating the risks of gender-based violence towards girls through COVID-19 to recovery.
  • The Journal of Children’s Services published a paper highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on children and on victims of child trafficking, and providing a useful framework to guide the development of social policies to address the pandemic.
  • A Child Abuse & Neglect publication documents changes in the use of child helplines during the COVID-19 pandemic and makes recommendations for strengthening child protection services.
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. UNICEF also published an article with guidance for parents on how to keep their children safe online while stuck at home during COVID-19.
  • 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.
Resources for managing mental health and stress
  • 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.

Gender and COVID-19: Keeping adolescent girls and women safe

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:

Policy briefs and other materials for policy makers
  • 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. UN Women also developed a survey report that shares new data confirming that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shadow pandemic of violence against women, and provides recommendations for policymakers to help prevent violence.
  • A World Bank blog highlights the rise in child marriages due to COVID-19 and provides examples of how different countries are addressing the issue.
  • 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. A CARE report highlights the impact of COVID-19 on the health, well-being, and safety of adolescent girls, and provides recommendations for ways in which donors, practitioners, and other stakeholders can better respond to the needs of girls in the midst of the crisis.
  • 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.
  • MADRE developed this toolkit intended for policymakers, service providers, and civil society organizations to prevent, address, and document domestic violence during Covid-19.
  • Plan International and African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) published a report that assesses the special vulnerabilities and risk factors faced by girls as a result of COVID-19 in Africa, including gender-based violence and online sexual exploitation.
Technical briefs and other tools 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 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.
  • UNSD and DESA created an online portal that contains information on the effects of COVID-19 on gender equality and includes data on violence against girls and women.
  • 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.
Resources for program implementors 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 developed a brief that identifies emerging risks related to gender-based violence (GBV) during COVID-19 as well as responses, to inform those responding to GBV during the pandemic.
  • 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.
  • UNICEF GBViE has a podcast, in which Dorcas Erskine, Senior consultant with UNICEF GBViE team, discusses how to provide support to GBV survivors beyond hotlines and mobile phones in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In another podcast, two speakers from UNICEF MENA and UNICEF Lebanon discuss the Virtual Safe Spaces project that UNICEF created for adolescent girls to access gender-based violence information.
  • 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). Save the Children’s Global Girlhood report highlights the threat of COVID-19 on gender equality and includes recommendations on how to work with girls to protect them from the worst impacts of the pandemic.
  • 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.
  • Pathfinder International published technical guidance on how to safely deliver gender-based violence (GBV) services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The International Rescue Committee published a report on how the humanitarian response to COVID-19 failed to protect women and girls, highlighting the impacts on gender-based violence and the need to include women and girls’ safety in COVID-19 response.

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:

Resources for students, parents, and teachers
  • 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.
  • The Global Working Group to End SRGBV developed a policy brief providing guidance on preventing and responding to SRGBV as schools reopen.
  • 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.
  • The University of Melbourne developed a report on the importance of providing social and emotional learning for students as part of recovery efforts, including strategies to promote teacher and student well-being post-emergency.
  • World Vision published a report highlighting the impact of COVID-19 school closures in sub-Saharan Africa on teenage pregnancy and providing recommendations for ensuring girls continue their education.