Her Stories Untold

Traei Tsai is the author of Her Stories Untold, a book on women empowerment about diverse women coming into becoming who they are today (their journey of success) and how also how they are coping with the Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation.

Traei Tsai, author of “Her Story Untold” (photo: herstoryuntold.com)

This book is intended to capture the journey of women to inspire themselves and others to look forward to the future with wonder. This is especially important during this global pandemic time.

Because of the Coronavirus/COVID-19, women around the globe are experiencing something they have never experienced before. The gendered experience of coronavirus is grounded in gender inequalities that impact all of us, every single day.

Traei is seeking stories full of different journeys of many global women to empower and inspire. If you would like to share your stories, please feel free to connect her. Narrators can include founders of your organizations (how it was started and its journey to help other women) and any women (e.g. someone that has experienced something in their life and how they overcame those struggles to where they are right now) that want to empower and inspire with their story.

Traei is the Vice-President of BC Minorities in Film & TV Society, a writer, fashion model and artist. She was recently in the film “Corona Movie” about the Coronavirus and Xenophobia. For the “Her Stories Untold” project, Traei has connected with local and global organizations (such as Dress For Success and Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology).

Webinar #11: Heading Off the Risk of Exploitation

 

GNWS COVID-19 Webinar Series

Speakers

  • Matcha Phorn-in – Sangsan Anakot Yaowachon, Thailand
  • Ghida Anani – ABAAD, Lebanon
  • Adine Samadi – ROKS, Sweden
  • Nafula “Faith” Wafula – Brydges Centre, Kenya

Staffed by:

  • Ashley Slye – National Network to End Domestic Violence, USA
  • Anthony Carlisle – Garden of Hope, Taiwan

Thailand

Matcha works at the Thai/Myanmar border and she works with stateless people in Thailand. In Thailand, indigenous groups are marginalized – they are not given ID cards so they cannot travel, work, or get an education. If girls can’t go to school, they often get married at underage. Matcha has tried for the past 15 years to ensure that girls go to school. During this time, 4,000 girls have learned about human rights and over 1,000 of them went to university.

COVID has caused the indigenous populations to run out of food, have no money or access to health care. Many cannot go to hospital because of language barrier or because they cannot pay hospital fees since the Thai healthcare system doesn’t cover these people. Four people have died within her community already this month. Matcha wishes to launch a fundraising campaign to raise money for the family of COVID victims. She is also seeking help from the government and planning to visit Parliament with an indigenous girl to request them to take action in response to the emergency and prevent the deaths of more native people during the pandemic.

Lebanon

Racism and prejudice towards refugees has resurfaced during the pandemic. Syrians are accused of bringing COVID to Lebanon.  Furthermore, the lockdown has isolated Syrian women refugees from essential services. 

Syrian women refugees caught in domestic violence situations are unable to leave their abusers because of the pandemic. Atrocities, such as honor killings, have increased since the outbreak. Even if she didn’t have COVID, men didn’t want women to live for 14 days with strange people in isolation without having access to her, leading to cases of femicide or threatening to kill her.

Currently, the asylum system in Lebanon is overwhelmed. Embassies consider that the crisis is not their problem and will not pay for the return tickets for refugees’ to their countries if they’re deported. In response to the crisis, ABAAD has made food kits with some essential items, and included a booklet with hotline numbers and advice on how to deal with domestic violence.

Sweden

Sweden hasn’t had the same kind of lockdown as other countries but hasseen differences with women who seek help. The shelters are quiet with less visits and phone calls. ROKS have a close relationship with the police and the reports are lower than usual.  Violence is mostly digital, sexual violence and cases of prostitution where young women have either been offered/forced.

Elderly women are also at risk because they don’t have social media and thus cannot access support networks, such as the chat for women’s shelters or the new app. ROKs have requested money from the Swedish Government to build up resources and help women post pandemic.

Kenya

The Kenyan Government’s response has involved a curfew, but not a full lockdown. A lot of people have lost their jobs, Kenya is largely driven by informal sector employment so that’s been tough for the economy.

There has been a huge number of cases of sexual and gender based violence., with a 40% increase since March (this is the number of reported cases from the hotline and police stations). However, the true  situation is expected to be much worse because domestic violence is normalized and often under-reported. 

In the slums, social workers say they have 4 cases a day of  domestic violence. 65 girls interviewed in a slum said they had experienced/heard about domestic violence. Transactional sex has drastically increased to pay for food. Teenage pregnancy has drastically increased – one county had 4,000 cases of teenage pregnancy from what the government was able to collect. Kenya has also seen an increase in child marriage as families struggle with finances, so girls are seen as a source of income. The government’s response has been to ban pornography because they believe this is the cause of teen pregnancies.

There is only one government-funded shelter in the country, the rest are run by NGOs. Gender based violence ends up falling by the wayside as the government prioritizes the COVID response. Rescuers can’t rescue women after curfew.  Nafula is currently trying to reach grassroots organizations to give more aid to these women.

Previous Webinar Recordings

17 June 2020: https://youtu.be/mLEICnVTMNA

3 June 2020: https://youtu.be/aymp8kklfw4

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

Provide Feedback on Webinars 

This brief 2-3 minute survey will help the GNWS develop future webinars in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We appreciate your feedback.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GNWSwebinarseval

Register for Upcoming Webinars

Heading Off the Risk of Exploitation

After natural disasters we know the risk of exploitation rises. What we don’t know is how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the risk of exploitation. This webinar will discuss preparing for the aftermath of the pandemic, ideas for reducing exploitation of vulnerable/targeted populations, and ways NGOs can support exploited individuals.

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.

https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html

Sign up for the GNWS Listserv

If you are not on the listserv, you can sign-up by clicking the following link: https://lists.gnws.org/lists/subscribe/announcement.

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!

Form in English: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc3ykdy9kjBqce58cGvFmpKv6DHiblZNnnWH6m0vmoqcAb67A/viewform

Forma en Español: https://forms.gle/X6Rw6hHM7Lo6SmC57

List of helplines listed on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/safety/domesticviolenceresources

Webinar #10: The Impact of Reopening Communities on Supportive Services

 

GNWS COVID-19 Webinar Series

Speakers

  • Vera Vieira – Associação Mulheres pela Paz (Brazil)
  • Ranhee Song – Korea Women’s Hotline (South Korea)
  • Cindy Southworth – National Network to End Domestic Violence (United States)
  • Maria Yusuf – Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (Ethiopia)

Staffed by:

  • Ashley Slye – USA
  • Patricia Vargas – Canada

     

Brazil

Vera shared a pharmacy initiative that involves over 10,000 participating pharmacies across the country. The concept is simple yet effective: when a woman goes to a pharmacy and writes x on her hand, employees are trained to call the police and bring the woman to safety.

South Korea

Ranhee talked about the pandemic situation with a focus on domestic violence. In South Korea, since only 2.3% of cases of domestic violence are reported to police, it is hard to judge whether cases increased or decreased; nevertheless, Ranhee believes that there has been an increase in cases as the ratio of domestic violence counseling rose from 26% in January to 40% in March.

Handling and bringing justice to domestic violence cases also face the challenge of deep-set attitudes and judicial barriers in South Korea. Emotional abuse is not recognized as “abuse” within Korea’s judicial system, and yet the rate of emotional abuse is four times higher than that of physical abuse. Rather punishing the abusers, physical abuse cases are usually dealt with through counseling. Even if incidents of domestic violence are reported, most of them are disposed of or filed as “household protection case”. Ranhee concludes that, during a global pandemic, Korea may be relatively safe from COVID-19, but not from domestic violence.

United States

Cindy shared the Women’s Helpline Project, which aims to create a worldwide women’s safety net. The initiative will involve a global database that would help women find resources for domestic violence that could be filtered by country or by topic (e.g. for LGBT women, migrant women, etc.). Taiwan is on the list of countries that have shared data with the helpline database. Furthermore, Facebook is partnering with UN women to start a list of domestic violence helplines: facebook.com/safety/domestic violence resources

Vera shared a pharmacy initiative that involves over 10,000 participating pharmacies across the country. The concept is simple yet effective: when a woman goes to a pharmacy and writes x on her hand, employees are trained to call the police and bring the woman to safety.

Ethiopia

12 shelters across the country, servicing 110 million people, have closed due to COVID-19. The association has opened a quarantine shelter where women can stay for 14 days – if they are negative they could be transferred to other shelters. This quarantine shelter is always full and domestic violence cases have increased. An emergency court room has been opened that can process domestic violence cases Media attention on the shelters has also led people to raise funds to support.

 

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

Provide Feedback on Webinars 

This brief 2-3 minute survey will help the GNWS develop future webinars in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We appreciate your feedback.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GNWSwebinarseval

 

Register for Upcoming Webinars

Heading Off the Risk of Exploitation

After natural disasters we know the risk of exploitation rises. What we don’t know is how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the risk of exploitation. 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? This webinar will discuss preparing for the aftermath of the pandemic, ideas for reducing exploitation of vulnerable/targeted populations, and ways NGOs can support exploited individuals.

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.

https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html

Sign up for the GNWS Listserv

If you are not on the listserv, you can sign-up by clicking the following link: https://lists.gnws.org/lists/subscribe/announcement.

 

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!

Form in English: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc3ykdy9kjBqce58cGvFmpKv6DHiblZNnnWH6m0vmoqcAb67A/viewform

Forma en Español: https://forms.gle/X6Rw6hHM7Lo6SmC57

List of helplines listed on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/safety/domesticviolenceresources

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

 

GNWS COVID-19 Webinar Series

Speakers

  • 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.

Italy

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

Provide Feedback on Webinars 

This brief 2-3 minute survey will help the GNWS develop future webinars in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We appreciate your feedback.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GNWSwebinarseval

 

Register for Upcoming Webinars

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.

https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html

Sign up for the GNWS Listserv

If you are not on the listserv, you can sign-up by clicking the following link: https://lists.gnws.org/lists/subscribe/announcement.

 

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!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc3ykdy9kjBqce58cGvFmpKv6DHiblZNnnWH6m0vmoqcAb67A/viewform

ANWS board member Uma Shah wins Generation Equality award

Uma Shah (second right) with GNWS/ANWS chair Chi Hui-Jung (center) and other ANWS board members at the 4th World Conference of Women’s Shelters

Uma Shah, ANWS board member and co-founders of the Saathi shelter organization in Nepal, and her colleague Suvekchya Rana, were among the winners of UN Women’s Generation Equality Campaign awards for 2020.

The awards are organized by NGO CSW/NY in partnership with Women Have Wings, and with the support of ten grants worth US$5,000 each from the Generation Equality Campaign.

After consulting with its regional branches, NGO CSW/NY announced the 10 organizations to be awarded the US$5,000 grants last week. The funds will be used to mobilize local voices from diverse communities worldwide.

Uma co-founded Saathi Women Shelters in 1992 and has been its president since January 2016. Before being elected as head of Saathi, Uma was extensively involved in managing and operating the shelter organization, which is the first of its kind in Nepal.

She is a board member of ANWS and has participated in various international programs of women shelters. Uma has grassroots experience working with the underprivileged women and children.

Other winners of the Generation Equality awards include Saathi senior program officer Suvekchya Rana, FEMNET executive director Memory Kachambwa, Asia Pacific Women’s Watch political activist Carole Shaw, Graduate Women International members Amy Dowdle and Pouya Saeedi, RMAAD representatives Dorotea Wilson Tathum and Paola Tañez-Inofuentes, Jamaican Women Working for Social Progress council member Delores Robinson, SAFECO core faculty member Ariane Moza, DIVA political adviser Noelene Nabulivou, Marsa Sexual Health Center executive director Diana Abou Abbas, and Nasiliu.net director Anna Rivina.

Upcoming Webinars

1591602269430Please join the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) for our upcoming webinars.

Each webinar will be an opportunity to hear from the VAW/GBV field, with panelists from across the globe, as they discuss the impact of COVID-19 on essential services and survivors.

The Impact of Reopening Communities on Supportive Services

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 while anticipating a surge of survivors seeking safe shelter and support. In these webinars, we will assess the current situation for the shelter movement.

When: 17 June 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
Registration Link

Heading Off the Risk of Exploitation

After natural disasters we know the risk of exploitation rises. What we don’t know is how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the risk of exploitation. This webinar will discuss preparing for the aftermath of the pandemic, ideas for reducing exploitation of vulnerable/targeted populations, and ways NGOs can support exploited individuals.

When: 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
Registration Link

Topic to Be Determined

The Global Network of Women’s Shelter is currently developing content for this webinar. We value your feedback and opinions. If you are interested in a specific topic, please let us know by using the question in the first three webinar registrations or emailing Ashley Slye at aslye@nnedv.org.

When: 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
Registration Link

Webinar #8: Updates from Around the Globe

82943GNWS COVID-19 Webinar Series

Speakers

  • Fatima Outaleb – Morocco
  • Ranjana Kumari – India
  • Onika Mars – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Vera Vieira – Brazil

Staffed by:

  • Ashley Slye – US NNEDV
  • Cindy Southworth – NNEDV

MENA

Fatima Outaleb talked about how the coronavirus crisis has dramatically increased domestic violence in Arab cities which were suddenly locked down and are ill-equipped to deal with the shutdown of travel and communication.

Women mainly work in the unstructured economy so do not have authorization to go out to work. However, men more than women are able to claim financial aid. Yet women have to find food and support their families.

The Ministry of Justice’s claim than domestic violence had gone down was exposed by activist who released figures showing reports of domestic violence had more than doubled after the lockdown.

Religious fundamentalist are proliferating rumors that COVID-19 is not real, while at the same time using the crisis to spread misogynistic, reactionary and hateful concepts.

Activists in Morocco used social media to publicize hotlines all over the country. Because of the lobbying work done by the network, the Ministry of Justice has created consultation platforms in local courts.

The pandemic has unveiled how far the MENA region is behind the rest of the world in progress towards gender equality.

Asia

Ranja Kumari talked about the silence of women, family pressure, and structural weaknesses in law enforcement and the justice system. These problems were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many women were already vulnerable are feeling suffocated, isolated and exhausted at now they have no space to breathe at home. Wife beating is very common, and accepted by 52% of women in India.

The National Commission of Women said 92,000 cases were reported to them after lockdown, double the figure before the crisis.

The government was unprepared to deal with the increase in domestic violence, and the virus response has been gender blind and shelters have been closed.

North America and the Caribbean

Onika Mars speaking from Trinidad and Tobago talked about how her organization, Women of Substance, has been working together with the police’s Gender-Based Violence Unit in response to the spike in domestic violence.

Women of Substance in partnership with another NGO is supplying free meals and food hampers to people affected, including single mothers.

So far Trinidad and Tobago only has 116 cases and 8 deaths. So far the government has handled the situation very well.

Latin America

Vera Vieira started by saying more than 50% of Brazil’s population of 200 million are of African descent, and they are suffering more from the pandemic. Yesterday over 1,000 people died from COVID-19.

The president is irresponsibly encouraging people to go back to work, and puts economic recovery above protecting people’s lives.

Domestic violence has increase 30%. Confinement has revealed the reality of sexual division of labor, in which women are responsible for most domestic work. Vera concluded that the future of Brazil is tragic.

GNWS webinar #7 “Fundraising to Keep Shelters Going during COVID-19”

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The seventh webinar in the GNWS series during the COVID-19 pandemic was on the topic of “Fundraising to Keep Shelter Services Going During a Public Health Crisis” on 6 May 2020 at 6:00 PM Washington, DC time.

Speakers

  • Cindy Southworth – NNEDV
  • Kaitlin Geiger-Bardswich – Women’s Shelters Canada
  • Ana Cruz – Asociacion Calidad de Vida (Honduras)
  • Riekje Kok – The Netherlands
  • Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi – Nigeria
  • Ang Jury – New Zealand

Delivering a consistent message and finding funders who identify with your cause are keys to funding at NNEDV. Cindy Southworth says it is important to first build a relationship with potential corporate donors by offering expert advice, tips on protecting staff who may be subjected to violence at home, and creating a peer partnership. NNEDV has seen an increase in funding during the COVID-19 crisis. Cindy added that a Facebook donation account is a useful source of revenue.

The Canadian National Network has seen a doubling in donations during COVID-19, with many new donors offering support. Kaitlin Bardswich said this was largely due to the Network’s high media profile in recent week, with the executive director appearing on television to talk about the issue of domestic violence during lockdown. The Network has been quoted in the media, published press releases, launched “make a mask” and “Giving Tuesday” campaigns, and worked on social media initiatives including Twitter storms by asking celebrities to share tweets. The Canadian government has also been very supportive, offering additional funding to support shelters.

The situation is very different in Honduras, where shelters are at capacity but lack government support. Most funding comes from international donors, said Ana Cruz. Shelters have produced social media info graphics to publicize their in-kind donation needs, including disinfectant, face masks and other supplies. During the crisis, shelter staff are working long shifts of 15 days a month.

In Nigeria, shelters are also struggling to stay open. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi reported that NGOs are struggling to persuade the government to give coronavirus control measures a gender perspective. Abiola has been able to raise a small amount of money (US$3,000) but most help is coming from local communities, with households opening their homes to survivors of violence when shelters cannot cope with the demand.

Meanwhile, as lockdown measures are being relaxed in the Netherlands and New Zealand, shelters are preparing for a new phase in the crisis, and a possible surge in demand as women who were unable to report domestic abuse while under lockdown can now leave their homes to seek help.

Reference materials

Evaluation

This brief 2-3 minute survey will help GNWS develop future webinars in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We appreciate your feedback.

Register for upcoming webinars

Webinars will now occur on a bi-weekly basis. The next is scheduled for 20 May 2020. Register at the links below.

 

Webinar #5 on serving survivors with COVID-19

Webinar #5 on serving survivors with COVID-19

The fifth webinar in GNWS’s weekly series on “Serving survivors with COVID-19 – sharing success stories and challenges from around the world” took place yesterday, April 22 at 11:00pm Taiwan time.

Speakers:

  • Pat Vargas (Canada)
  • Margarita Guille and Monica Jasis (Mexico)
  • Famitam Outaleb (Morocco)
  • Lisbeth Jessen and Mette Mrarie Yde Poulson (Denmark)
  • Cindy Southworth (USA)
  • Ruth Ozery (Israel)
  • Adine Samadi (Sweden)
  • Joy Lange (South Africa)

Pat introduced the two kinds of shelters in Canada, crisis shelters which are communal living homes with shared facilities, and transitional housing, which are independent units. The shelter network was able to get funding from the government to help equip shelters with wifi, get computers for children so they could do their homework, and other supplies and resources to ensure the shelters stay open. Pat added that Canada’s shelters have adopted COVID-19 prevention practices from Taiwan.

Margarita reported that the consequences of special measures introduced by some Latin American countries are placing restrictions on shelter staff getting to work, limiting access to food, and increasing risks and stress for shelter staff. The Latin American shelter network RiRE has seen a drop in helpline calls in lockdown situations because it is difficult for women to reach out when they are being monitored by their abuser at home.

Monica gave some recommendation to deal with anxiety issues during the COVID-19 crisis, such as designating one provider per case, initiating counseling services first while explaining the new limitations on social distance, and then implementing COVID-19 prevention protocols.

Speaking from the MENA region, Fatima said the ABAAD Helpline has launched a #LockdownNotLockup campaign with banners held from balconies and messages of solidarity for victims, to raise attention about the increase in domestic violence, and ask the government to take action.

In Jordan, the #WeAreOneAtHomeAndOutside campaign has highlighted the role family members can play to change violent behaviors and stereotypical gender roles within the home. Jordan has kept their shelters open, but the residents must go through a government health check to enter the shelter.

In Denmark, Lisbeth and Mette reported that shelters also have a screening protocol, but have prepared additional space to house COVID-19 cases to keep them separate from other survivors.

Q&A

  1. Our concern is how the lockdown is inhibiting the ability of women to call for help. How do women reach out for help in Canada and have any additional contact channels been opened?
  • Most of our crisis line are reporting lower numbers of call. However, in some areas, as soon as they increased the time of isolation, there was a rise in numbers.  Google reported a 70% increase on searches about domestic violence.  Some shelters are using texting to reach out. This is the question of the day!  How do we reach those women in isolation? How can we safety plan?  Perhaps we can start putting info on our websites. Some organizations are getting together to strategize on how to reach women… we just need to be careful not to put the woman in more danger.
  • Yes, I think it is a good idea to post information to websites. We are also creating digital communities for women where they have other kind of topics among them DV.
  1. How are people promoting safety when shelters and/or hotel vouchers are not available and technology is limited?
  • Some organizations have strategized around access to food through food banks—this may allow an advocate to connect with the woman and briefly safety plan. Advocates can also train food pantry workers in identifying signs of domestic violence and offering information. Puerto Rico recently launched a campaign addressing neighbors—where they should actively be promoting the safety of women and children and contacting police when they see or hear something.
  • In Minnesota, USA, the state domestic violence coalition, Violence Free Minnesota, developed materials to distribute to retailers deemed essential (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) that inform workers on domestic violence and supporting potential victims. Many organizations have also had information posted in bathrooms at these essential services. In Italy, they developed a new campaign to let people know DV shelters were still open. Campaigns could also be done in partnership with television and radio stations.
  • Prior to government issued lockdowns and as some places re-open, organizations have used this as an opportunity to reconnect with the education system (teachers, principals, etc.), providing them information on domestic and sexual violence services and the helpline number.
  1. Are there any Standards Operating Procedures, guidelines, or lessons learned on the management of shelters for survivors of GBV that people can share?
  • One is being developed for the Latin American region. A few organizations/countries have developed some, one is the Red Nacional de Albergues de Violencia Doméstica in Puerto Rico.
  • As information becomes available and best practices are recognized, we will share this information via the webinar series.

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