South Africa: Women and Children Need More Protection During Lockdown

Family members who have fled conflict sit inside their tent at the Pissila camp for displaced people in Burkina Faso (file photo).

Countries across the globe have imposed lockdowns to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. But with this move to isolate, organisations fear that women and children will be increasingly vulnerable to abuse. They are calling on governments not to be gender-blind.

The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre received about 2,300 complaints in the first four days after the lockdown came into effect.

But, Mandisa Dlamini, founder and executive director of the Gugu Dlamini Foundation in KwaZulu-Natal, who participated in a webinar held by Sonke Gender Justice on Monday 20 April, said the figure does not reveal the full extent of violence against women and children.

"We assume the number of cases is high but we have also requested stats from local police stations who say the stats are low," Dlamini said. "It is not easy for people to go out and report these cases."

Organisations working in the sector said they were trying to find interventions that could assist survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), especially those who have not reported their cases.

The interventions include boosting their toll-free numbers and getting governments to understand that restrictions need to take into consideration that women and children suffer the burden of the lockdown, especially...

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