UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged governments to tackle the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic by ensuring the safety of women.
In the aftermath of major lock-downs implemented to curb the spread of the epidemic, allegations of domestic violence have surged worldwide.
“Violence is not confined to the battlefield,” Guterres said in a statement and video released in several languages, days after his call for a global truce following the outbreak.
“For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes,” he said.
Describing the increase in domestic violence as “horrific,” he urged all governments to “make prevention and redress of violence against women a core component of their national COVID-19 response plans.”
In the first week of nationwide movement restrictions, India registered double the average number of domestic violence incidents, according to the country’s National Commission for Women.
Cases in France increased by a third in the week following the lockdown of that country, authorities said, while Australia registered an rise of 75% in internet searches relating to help for victims of domestic violence.
Guterres called for the establishment of emergency warning systems in pharmacies and grocery stores, and for safe ways to “seek help from women 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.”