The Autonomous Women's Center knows that government calls for self-isolation and stay-at-home can have consequences for women and children who are experiencing violence. Home is not a safe place for victims of violence. We are concerned that avoiding social contacts and self-isolation will allow abusers to intensify control and abuse of victims and prevent them from contacting support and protection providers/institutions. The rise in violence against women and children during the Coronavirus pandemic has been reported by countries from China to the United States.
In this regard, safety and security planning advices for victims of violence should become an integral part of the instructions that the Government sends to the public and representatives of relevant institutions. We call on the Government, when planning measures and actions to prevent the spread of Coronaviruses, to include the safety and specific needs of women and children as a priority. These measures should include the protection of women against violence, protection at work, assistance and support in the care of children and the elderly.
Past experiences have shown that the inclusion of gender analysis has mayor importance for the effectiveness of measures in field of healthcare. During the West African epidemic of Ebola disease from 2014 to 2016, women were found to be more likely to be infected with the virus, given their predominant role as caregivers in families; their positions on the front line in the healthcare system and all type of services. On the other hand, women generally have less power to make decisions at every level, and therefore their needs are more likely to be neglected.
Special attention of the Government should be focused on the fact that women mostly work unpaid or have underpaid jobs. Mostly women work in retail; they are the first to be fired and are forced to agree to any working conditions in order to provide food for themselves and their children. Increased safety measures at work are therefore needed, as well as measures of economic support for women who are currently making extraordinary efforts in the survival of the community.