Please find attached information sheets on COVID-19 and violence against women that have been developed by the WHO team
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have identified that stress, disruption to protective networks (such as friends and family) and access to services will all adversely affect violence against women against the backdrop of Covid-19. Job losses, the increased proximity of direct family members but decreased access to the extended family have also been identified as outcomes. In this crisis, women bear the brunt of the increased care work; including caring for children who are not at school and elderly relatives staying in this household. This has also impacted on their ability to work from home.
Perpetrators of abuse may use the restrictions in place on movement and access to financial resources to exercise power and control over their partners. This may result in reduced access to services for help and support for these women. Controlling access to soap and sanitizers for women may also be a tactic used by perpetrators to exert power and increase anxiety for their partners. The spreading of misinformation has also been highlighted as a technique used by some perpetrators to exert authority.
WHO has asked governments and policymakers to consider essential domestic violence services in response to COVID-19 and to identify ways to make these services accessible within the context of physical distancing measures. They provided suggestions for health facilities and providers, humanitarian organisations, community members and to women themselves who are experiencing violence during this international crisis.
The Journal for Gender Based Violence is calling for abstracts to be submitted for articles for a special Edition on Digital Technologies and Gender Based Violence: Mechanisms for oppression, activism and recovery. This decision came following the September conference in Oslo – The third European Conference on Domestic Violence. Over 8,000 delegates from 41 countries participated. A consistent theme was how digital technologies were impacting on understandings and responses to Gender Based Violence (GBV). The special issue represents a timely edition to this emerging field to critically explore how technologies can be used to perpetrate and reinforce GBV and simultaneously be a powerful tool for resistance, activism and recovery and the challenges this brings.
Their rationale is that Digital technology plays a fundamental role in all our lives, operating across public and private realms, often in ways many of us do not completely comprehend (Turke 2011). Technology facilitates forms of GBV which, even a decade ago, seemed unlikely (Woodlock 2016). New forms of technology provide perpetrators ever-growing ways to harass and control their victims using the tools of everyday life (Barter et al 2017, Tech Abuse 2017). As Woodlock concludes technology creates a sense of the perpetrator’s omnipresence to isolate, punish and humiliate. Alongside direct forms of technological GBV we have seen the rise in online misogynistic platforms and participatory communities, such as the Gamergate movement, as well as the recurrent targeting of girls and women by online trolls (United Nations 2015).
Specific topic areas may include:
Transdisciplinary understandings of technologically facilitated GBV
Power structures and social inequalities that shape the nature and dynamics of technologically facilitated GBV
Digital spaces being used to perpetuate and reinforce attitudes condoning GBV
Spyware and GBV surveillance
Criminal law in digital contexts
Links between new technology and GBV activism and support
Digital communities and their impact in real-word settings for GBV
Communities of support formed through the digital activism to resist GBV
Evaluation of technologically driven interventions for GBV survivors
If you would like to submit an abstract it should not exceed 500 words in length. Please send it to Dr Christine Barter, Cabarter@uclan.ac.uk, University of Central Lancashire, Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Abuse no later than 1st April 2020. Please include your name and email contact details. Feedback and a decision will be provided by May 15th.