ARTICLE TYPE

Press Release

Gender-based violence (GBV) increases during every type of emergency whether economic crises, conflict, or disease outbreaks. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, gender, age, and disability inequalities are compounded placing women, men, and vulnerable populations at greater risk of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and psychological distress. The closure of schools has forced millions of children to stay indoors making them vulnerable to abuse. The Ministry of Public Service and Gender reported a 42% increase of GBV cases in March 2020. According to a report by the National Council on Administration of Justice, the COVID-19 lockdown measures resulted in a significant spike in sexual offenses in many parts of the country.
 
Today, gender-based violence (GBV) is recognized as a cross-cutting issue affecting the lives of victims from a diversity of dimensions including culture, education, health, economy, psychology, livelihoods.  Ending gender-based violence (GBV) and ensuring women, men, and children’s security is a central part of Kenya Red Cross Covid-19 response.
 
Through our partnership with the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program and the ministry of health, we are supporting the existing coordination mechanisms of GBV, strengthening GBV/child protection referral pathways, training and equipping of health care facilities for clinical management of rape, and enhancing community awareness on the prevention and response to GBV.
 
Evans Nyaribo is a medical social worker and working as a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence focal point in Starehe Sub-County. Evans was among the 15 Healthcare workers trained on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) response during COVID-19. After the training, key messages were cascaded to CHVs Red cross, Volunteer Children Officers (VCOs) to support further dissemination at the community level through awareness creation.
 
In an interview with Kenya Red Cross, he narrates that before the COVID-19 outbreak, there were reduced cases of SGBV most of which were being handled at the local administrative level; chief’s office. However, upon the outbreak of this infectious disease, there has been a gradual rise in reported cases. Some of the issues registered include increased teenage pregnancies, suicidal cases, emotional issues, and abandonment of babies.
 
Through the GBV Response training, Evans elaborates that referral pathways have been strengthened and cases are no longer being solved at the chief’s office but referred to the Children’s Department, the Police, and health facilities for treatment. There has also been an increase in the number of reported cases that previously went unreported.  According to Evans, CHVs sensitized on GBV through this program have supported in escalating messages on GBV and child protection at the household level.

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