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UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women joins NWCI webinar to discuss impact of Covid-19

Published: Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dubravka Šimonovic, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women will give the keynote address at the upcoming National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) #FeministAgenda webinar – Challenging Violence against Women today, 11th June, 11:30 – 1 pm.

The webinar will look at the impact that Covid-19 is having on women experiencing violence and abuse, also examining the response in Ireland and globally to violence against women during the pandemic.

Ms. Dubravka Simonovic, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women said,

“Domestic violence has already surged in many countries, as measures imposing isolation compel a number of women to be kept at home under the same roof with perpetrators, thus exacerbating women's vulnerability to domestic violence, including femicides. The risk is aggravated by fewer police interventions; the closure of courts and limited access to justice; the closure of shelters and services for victims, and reduced access to reproductive health services. Governments must not allow the extraordinary circumstances and restrictive measures against COVID-19 to lead to the violation of women's right to a life free from violence." 

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“Since the onset of this crisis, the issue of violence against women has entered public discourse like never before, and the need for a public response was quickly highlighted and acted upon. Now we cannot unsee the domestic abuse that we know women are experiencing every day in Ireland. The Covid-19 crisis did not create domestic abuse but it has aggravated it. Paradoxically, Covid-19 has both revealed domestic abuse and added to its concealment. Incidences of domestic abuse reported globally have risen, so too have domestic homicides.”

“As a nation who has just experienced the impact of Covid-19, perhaps now we can understand the effects that the epidemic of domestic and sexual abuse has on every single element of a women’s life - her health, her safety, her family relationships, her economic security and her mental health.  Crucially, women’s experiences must be at the centre of our post-Covid recovery, one that prioritises ending violence and abuse of women.”

Mary Louise Lynch - Founder of Sisi, a survivor participation project said,

“For many women, when you are experiencing domestic abuse, it is like living in permanent lockdown. For women who have left their abusers and are trying to move on, abuse can continue through child access and through court processes. Leaving an abuser but having to facilitate them is often like lIving a half life, and knowing you can be triggered at any time of the day with an email or a text message, or looking to change arrangements. In some ways, the lockdown provided a break from this for many women. As we return to normal, this living a half-life will resume. This must be factored into any post-Covid response to domestic abuse and the pandemic.”

Additional panel speakers will include:

- Noeline Blackwell - CEO Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
- Sarah Benson - CEO Women's Aid

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For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications and Social Media Coordinator, sarahc@nwci.ie, 085 8619087