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Work to Combat Gender-Based Violence Continues during COVID-19

Work to Combat Gender-Based Violence Continues during COVID-19

SCAT partners distribute food parcels during COVID19 pandemic in Eastern Cape

The Embassy of Ireland is committed to supporting survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa and working to end violence against women and girls. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this work remains vitally important as the risk of GBV is higher than ever. Calls for help to the National Command Centre for GBV have increased since the COVID-19 response began. Some women are at home in lockdown with an abusive partner, while others are at risk of exploitation as they have lost their livelihoods and income. Restrictions on movement, although necessary to control the spread of COVID-19, can make it harder for women to seek help or for services to be provided.

The Embassy’s partner organisations have adjusted their work for this new scenario and are continuing to support women and girls who face violence in their homes and communities. Community organisations funded through our partner Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT) have added much-needed food and soap distribution to their normal work of providing advice, information and support to survivors of GBV. SCAT and their partners are also monitoring the human rights situation under lockdown and are working to make sure that communities in need of water and sanitation are provided for. Sonke Gender Justice have taken their advocacy and awareness raising work online with events, discussions and campaigns highlighting the impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups including women and girls. UN Women are supporting the government of South Africa to ensure that vital referral services for survivors of GBV remain effective during the lockdown and that the National Strategic Plan for GBV continues on track despite the extra challenges presented by COVID-19.

The Embassy and our partners will continue to support South Africa’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of GBV throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, and beyond.

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