Webinar #9: The Impact of Reopening Communities on Supportive Services


GNWS COVID-19 Webinar Series


  • Melissa Alvarado– UN Women
  • Marcella Pirrone – Donne in Rete contro la violenza (Italy)
  • Ang Jury – Women’s Refuge (New Zealand)

Staffed by:

  • Ashley Slye – US NNEDV
  • Anthony Carlisle – Taiwan


As governments push to lift lockdowns, there are fears of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and other unforeseen consequences. Meanwhile, other regions are becoming new epicenters. These uncertainties create evolving challenges for women’s shelters and other organizations working to protect survivors of violence. In this webinar, we will assess the current situation for the shelter movement, with a lead-off presentation from UN Women’s Asia-Pacific Programme, and follow up with updates from shelter networks around the world.

UN Women

Melissa Alvarado, Ending Violence against Women Programme Manager at UN Women shared services for Violence against Women and the Impact on CSOs (civil society organization) Amid COVID-19 in the Asia and the Pacific Region.

UN Women conducted Rapid assessment on the impact of COVID-19. UN Women found that almost three quarters (71%) of CSO respondents said that COVID-19 was affecting them somewhat or very negatively. More than 60% of CSOs participated in shaping the government’s response to COVID-19. Only 15% of the respondent organizations are in full operation. More than 70% of them are forced to stop part of the provision of their services for women temporarily, and 12% have had to temporarily suspend activities altogether.

CSOs reported increased cases of VAW, with violence by family members representing the highest increase at 42%. The lockdown and quarantine measures mean that millions of women are confined with their abusers, with limited options for seeking help and support. Women, girls, and vulnerable groups are at an increased risk of GBV during public health outbreaks, such as COVID-19, due to limited input and control in decision making on a household’s response and shifts in social safety nets, mobility, and access to information/ services.

CSOs are focused on the survival and immediate needs of beneficiaries and struggling to maintain a presence and service delivery. The work of CSOs/WROs on access to services, prevention, and legislation or policy change is on hold. CSOs are expanding the reach of their services and prevention programming on violence against women and girls.


Marcella shared about the situation in Italy. Italy is moving to the next phase of the pandemic. Violence against women hasn’t been addressed enough by the government. Furthermore, women are absent among the experts who are specialized in crisis response. Therefore, the stakes for women under violence are often being neglected. The ongoing crisis will be the foreseeable increasing number of economically disadvantaged and socially underprivileged women. Long-term and systemic policies on empowering women are also essential. Marcella also pointed out that data collection is crucial so that people can be well prepared for future crises.

New Zealand

Ang also shared about the relatively good situation in New Zealand. They haven’t seen significant growth of women seeking help. But it is for sure that number will rise inevitably. It may be the perfect environment for violence against women after the lifting of lockdown due to the economic damage caused by the virus. New Zealand’s government is closely working with shelters. They listen to the needs and advice of the civil societies, which helps a lot in alleviating the crisis. Three weeks ago the refugee sector received three-year funds from the government.


Previous Webinar Recordings

20 May 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_8

6 May 2020: https://youtu.be/k2h0XGANrHM

29 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_6

22 April 2020: https://bit.ly/serving_survivors

15 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_4

8 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWSTech

1 April 2020: https://bit.ly/316uCpk

25 March 2020: https://bit.ly/30YhOBb

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Heading Off the Risk of Exploitation

We know vulnerable people are being hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the human, social and economic effects of the crisis deepen, women and children are at greater risk of falling victim to human traffickers. Questions that will be addressed in this webinar include: Is there evidence that the pandemic has increased human trafficking? What has been the experience in different parts of the world? How can we be more vigilant to stop exploitation of victims? And what lessons can be shared to prevent vulnerable people falling into the hands of organized crime? In addition to presentations on the main topic, the webinar will also include updates from around the world on the COVID-19 situation and gender-based violence risks.

1 July 2020

10:00 AM Washington, DC | 3:00 PM London, UK | 5:00 PM Istanbul, TU | 7:30 PM Mumbai, IN | 10:00 PM Hong Kong | 12:00 AM Sydney, AU


15 July 2020

7:00 PM Washington, DC | 12:00 AM London, UK | 2:00 AM Istanbul, TU | 4:30 AM Mumbai, IN | 7:00 AM Hong Kong | 9:00 AM Sydney, AU

The link below can help you find the time the webinar will be held in your time zone.


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Global Network of Women’s Shelters Helpline Project

As mentioned on the webinar, GNWS is collecting the national helpline for every country so victims and their friends and family have a place to find accurate support. Even if your country doesn’t have a national helpline, we want to know! In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also asking about text, chat, and email helplines. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief form so we can continue to update our list of helplines. If you have already completed the form, thank you so much. Your information is greatly appreciated!