Don’t cut women’s lifelines, warns ActionAid, as gender-based violence surges worldwide during COVID-19

Don’t cut women’s lifelines, warns ActionAid as gender-based violence surges worldwide during COVID-19

Global lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions have unleashed a shocking surge in gender-based violence (GBV) in countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, as women’s shelters are shut down and countries divert funding to battle the pandemic.

New research by ActionAid, based on surveys of local support services and women’s movements worldwide, also found that domestic violence survivors with live legal cases were increasingly being forced to settle out of court, due to COVID-related court closures. This is increasing community tensions and damaging survivors’ ability to rebuild their lives.

ActionAid’s Country Director in Nigeria, Ene Obi, says: “We have never been more alarmed about the violence unleashed on women and girls than in recent times.

“Girls, women, young and old, are living in fear as they don’t even feel safe in their own homes. Due to the pandemic, arrest is no longer enough to serve as a deterrent, as most of these cases are being settled out of court. This means there is no real justice for the survivors and their families.”

Key findings from the report, Surviving COVID-19: A Women-Led Response show that:

    • In Bangladesh, ActionAid’s network of support services, including in the Rohingya refugee camps, found a tenfold (983%) increase in sexual and domestic violence this April to May, compared to the same period last year.
    • In Brazil, 143 women were killed across 12 states in March and April this year and had a 22% increase in femicide compared to last year, according to data from security agencies. In the Northern State, Acre, femicide is up 300%.
    • In Uganda, ActionAid was forced to temporarily shut down 10 of its shelters due to lockdown restrictions, even though the caseloads doubled in March and April 2020 during the outbreak, compared to the prior year.
    • In the Gaza Strip, an ActionAid partner organisation reports supporting 700% more survivors of GBV through its counselling services this April-May than in 2019.
    • In Italy, a review of more than 228 shelters saw the number of women who asked for support through the government’s anti-violence hotline increase by 59%.
    • In Nigeria, where the government has declared a state of emergency following a sharp spike in cases of femicide and rape, one women’s shelter reported a 700% increase in cases of violence since lockdown. ActionAid is calling for a ban on bail and out of court settlements for these brutal cases, following 253 harrowing attacks documented since lockdown.

The persistent, yet predicable increased rape and murder of women, which happens in any emergency, remains the most ignored and underfunded part of the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for COVID-19. Less than 0.3% of the funding needed to protect women from violence has been committed.

Four years ago, at the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit, the world promised that 25% of humanitarian funding would go directly to local organisations, such as the women’s shelters featured in ActionAid’s new report. But the UN’s global plan for COVID-19 is way off track, with just 0.1% of funding going to local organisations.

Julia Sánchez, Secretary General of ActionAid International, said:

“COVID-19 is a health and economic crisis which has also unleashed a horrifying surge in femicide, rape and violence against women and girls. Our research shows this is a worldwide phenomenon, played out with shocking regularity and predictability, and is clearly under-reported.

“Governments, charities and donors worldwide must respond urgently, to scale up the pitiful levels of funding for women’s protection services and local organisations working on the frontline of the COVID–19 pandemic and indeed in all humanitarian crises and disasters.

“Two thirds of the world’s health workers are women, yet only a quarter of decision-making bodies for the pandemic are female .This explains why health research doesn’t monitor women’s specific needs and decisions are being made without women in mind, despite women bearing the brunt of the fallout.”

ActionAid’s report warns that the world is "sleepwalking into the shadow pandemic of global femicide". The organisation is calling for GBV services like women’s shelters and referral pathways to be classified as essential in all countries.

ActionAid is responding to the COVID-19 crisis in 40 countries around the world. Its frontline, women-led services have all reported increases in violence against women and girls since the start of the pandemic. More than 60% of its humanitarian funding goes to local organisations, the majority to women’s organisations.

Download the report Surviving COVID-19: A Women-Led Response


ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 2/2020 (April 2020)

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 2/2020 (April 2020)

Stay connected to ActionAid Thailand through our latest e-newsletter!

In this issue, catch highlights from our work in the first quarter of 2020, from ActionAid Federation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new education project funded by the European Union that aims to build capacity and engage civil society organisations in taking active roles in school governance, to how ActionAid celebrated and honoured International Women's Day (8 March) around the world.

We also talked to "Khru Bua" or Ms. Buntharik Suesat, a small school teacher from Nan Province on being part of a local education reform, transforming her school int a Thinking School, proving that a quality classroom can be provided without an abundance of resources.

Download the April 2020 issue of the newsletter


จดหมายข่าว 4/2562

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 4/2019 (October 2019)

Stay connected to ActionAid Thailand through our latest e-newsletter.

In this issue, we announce the return of ActionAid's run event with ActionAid Virtual Run 2019. Read stories our key programme work between August and October 2019, including the coalition of development organisations, Equal Stand, to improve the quality of Thai education and make its access equal and equitable; and the First Pin Initiative that enlists students and the public's help in identifying urban spaces prone to street harassment and reporting them via an application.

Catch highlights of people's actions during the Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2019, followed by youth-led Global Climate Strike activities, in which Thai environmental activists and students joined millions around the world on 20 September to combat climate change and demand better of their governments.

Download the October 2019 issue of the newsletter


ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 3/2019 (July 2019) จดหมายข่าว มูลนิธิแอ็คชั่นเอด ประเทศไทย ฉบับที่ 3/2562 (กรกฎาคม 2562)

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 3/2019 (July 2019)

Stay connected to ActionAid Thailand through our latest e-newsletter.

Read the stories from our key programme work, including the capacity trainings and empowerment of small school teachers, the launch of First Pin Initiative that rallies people's help in combatting sexual harassment and violence in urban spaces, the people's movement for land democracy, and many more.

Download the July 2019 issue of the newsletter


ActionAid Thailand 2018 Annual Report

ActionAid Thailand 2018 Annual Report

This report is the story of ActionAid Thailand’s year in 2018. It shows our human rights-based approach to development and the progress we’ve made in our three programme priorities – the story of how we strengthen small schools and advocate for the right to education, how we work with the government and public in campaigns and policy advocacy work on gender equality and the right to safe cities for women. It also shows how we support landless and land-poor communities to secure their rights to land and natural resources, and the global efforts to tackle climate change and bring about climate justice.

In here you will also find our audited accounts, ensuring that we remain transparent and accountable to the poor and excluded people that we work with as well as our partners, supporters, donors and all other relevant stakeholders.

Download 2018 Annual Report


จดหมายข่าว มูลนิธิแอ็คชั่นเอด ประเทศไทย ฉบับที่ 2/2562 (เมษายน 2562) ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 2/2019 (April 2019)

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 2/2019 (April 2019)

Stay connected to ActionAid Thailand through our latest e-newsletter.

In this issue, find highlights from our programmes and the impact we made with social campaigns early this year. Read about the small school network, our collaboration with Girl Rising, and Thai Activistas’ project to battle sexual harassment on university campus.

Get ready for our first Donor Visit of 2019, a special day where you can learn hands-on about education development in small schools. Plus, read our interview with Khru Nong–Kritsaphon Watthanapan, the artist behind the small school sketch on AAT’s special collection of charity gifts.

Download the April 2019 issue of the newsletter


ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 1/2019 (January 2019)

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 1/2019 (January 2019)

You can now stay connected to ActionAid Thailand through our latest e-newsletter.

In this issue, find highlights from our programmes and the impact we made with social campaigns towards the end of 2018. Plus, read a recap of ActionAid Thailand donors’ visit to Wat Don Pho Thong School in Suphanburi; and get to know Thinking School, an alternative education method used by small schools in Northern Thailand.

Download the January 2019 issue of the newsletter


ActionAid Thailand 2017 Annual Report

ActionAid Thailand 2017 Annual Report

Our annual report shows how ActionAid Thailand is making progress towards our strategic objectives. It also includes our audited accounts, explaining where our income comes from and how we have spent it. Download our 2017 annual report below.

Download 2017 Annual Report