Using administrative data from police, violence against women hotlines, and other service-providers, and analysing big data from online searches and social media posts, research has found that violence against women and girls has intensified since the outbreak of Covid-19. This coincided in many countries with a reduction in services to support survivors, partly due to operational challenges and reduced funding for law enforcement agencies and local women’s organizations, which play an essential role in VAW service-provision. This has led to several calls to end violence against women, including by United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Women’s former Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who coined the term the “shadow pandemic”.
In 2021, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UN Women and Ipsos conducted regional gender assessment (RGAs) specifically focused on violence against women (VAW RGAs) and women’s safety in 13 countries with the goal of better understanding the “shadow pandemic” and producing much-needed data on VAW and women’s safety, both in public and private spaces, as well as on their mental well-being. The VAW RGAs were implemented by Ipsos in Albania, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand and Ukraine with the general support of national statistical offices (NSOs), national women’s machineries, and guided by a technical advisory group of experts in VAW statistics and agencies that have conducted similar initiatives. These safeguards were important given the sensitivity of the subject matter and the ethical and technical requirements, but also to promote the uptake and use of the results for evidence-based policymaking.
Country-level and global reports from the VAW RGAs are available here, and will be published on an ongoing basis through January 2022. For more information on this study, please reach out to Kaitlin Love and Sara Gysen.