IBWPPI Stands for Women Survivors of Violence in the Age of COVID-19

From The Desk of President Barbara A. Perkins

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute (IBWPPI) is concerned about the disruption of social services, regular work routines, the absence of school safety nets, and the social isolation of women and girls that makes them more vulnerable to incidences of violence. IBWPPI will continue to speak out in this fight to end all forms of violence against women.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated, “During health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against women tends to increase.” WHO recommends policymakers to take action to prevent and address violence against women in the age of COVID-19:


  • When making preparedness and response plans for the COVID-19 pandemic, include essential services for violence against women. 
  • Allocate adequate resources for services for survivors and identify ways to make them accessible – particularly in the context of measures to restrict people’s movement. 
  • Explore the use of telemedicine, digital health, or mobile health (mhealth) to enhance access to support and services for survivors, while ensuring this is safe for them.  
  • Explore alternative shelters for women who may require this. 
  • Ensure that lockdown measures do not penalize women for seeking support when experiencing violence, such as by going to the police or hospital to report violence. 


Please take time to review the resources below and share this newsletter with your personal and professional networks. We must do all that we can to ensure the safety and wellness of our mothers, daughters, aunts, nieces, and grandmothers.


In Faith,

Barbara A. Perkins

National Domestic Violence Hotline

If you or someone you know is at risk of abuse, please utilize and share these resources.



Call: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

TTY: 1-800-787-3224

Text: LOVEIS to 22522


Chat online at www.thehotline.org.

For more information on digital abuse, visit bit.ly/2m1oM7z.

Para información en Español visita la página “En Español.


United Nations Statement on Violence Against Women and Girls in the Context of COVID-19

UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19. The appeal was answered in a statement by 146 Member States and Observers that expressed strong support for the following goals:


  • Make urgent and flexible funding available for women’s rights organizations and recognize their role as first responders.
  • Support health and social services to continue their duty of care to survivors and to remain accessible, especially to those most likely to be left behind.
  • Ensure that services for Violence Against Women and Girls survivors are regarded as essential, remain open and are resourced and made accessible especially to those most likely to be left behind.
  • Place a high priority on police and justice responses. Mandate police and judicial systems to promptly respond to violence against women and children with specific warning and sanctioning measures should policies not be followed.
  • Put preventative measures in place. Reduce the risk of violence occurring by putting in place measures, such as: providing financial and material support to women and households through cash transfers, loans, social safety nets and other modalities.
  • Collect data only if it is clear that it is needed, it will be used to improve services/programmes and ethical and safety standards can be met. Do not prioritize data collection on violence over women and girls’ safety, privacy and confidentiality or where referrals to support services cannot be made.


The Facts: Global Trends for Violence Against Women in the Pandemic

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), violence against women remains a major threat to global public health and women’s health during emergencies.


  • Violence against women is highly prevalent. Intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence.
  • Globally, 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by any perpetrator in their lifetime. Most of this is intimate partner violence.
  • Violence against women tends to increase during every type of emergency, including epidemics. Older women and women with disabilities are likely to have additional risks and needs. Women who are displaced, refugees, and living in conflict-affected areas are particularly vulnerable.
  • Although data are scarce, reports from China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries suggest an increase in domestic violence cases since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
  • The number of domestic violence cases reported to a police station in Jingzhou, a city in Hubei Province, tripled in February 2020, compared with the same period the previous year.


Resources to Read:

Africa UN Women | COVID-19 Jeopardizes Progress Made Towards Protecting Women And Girls From Violence And Harmful Practices

UN Women Brief | COVID-19 and Ending Violence Against Women and Girls


World Health Organization’s Q&A: Violence Against Women During COVID-19

If you are experiencing violence, it may be helpful to reach out to family, friends and neighbors, to seek support from a hotline or, if safe, from online service for survivors of violence. Find out if local services (e.g. shelters, counselling) are open and reach out to them if available. 


Make a safety plan in case the violence against you or your children escalates. This includes: 


  • Identifying a neighbor, friend, relative, colleague, or shelter to go to in case you need to leave the house immediately for safety. 


  • Have a plan for how you will exit the house safely and how you will reach there (e.g. transport).  


  • Keep a few essential items (e.g. identification documents, phone, money, medicines, and clothes) available, and a list of telephone numbers in case of an emergency.  


  • If possible, develop a code with a trusted neighbor so they can come to your aid in case of an emergency. 


If you know of, or are concerned about, someone in an abusive relationship there are some things you can do: 


  • Keep regularly in touch with the person to check that they are safe, ensuring that it is safe for them to be in touch with you. Assume that a perpetrator of violence can see, hear and or monitor communications, so find out how best to communicate with the person that you are concerned about.  


  • Find out what services for survivors of violence against women (e.g. shelters, hotlines, counselling services, women’s organizations) are functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic and make this information available through your networks and social media. Only provide this information directly if you can do so discretely without the abuser finding out.  


  • If someone you know needs urgent help for whatever reason, be prepared to call emergency health services, the police, health center, or hotline. 


Complimentary IBWPPI Membership During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Group of women in white holding hands | Image for Membership | IBWPPI
Group of women in white holding hands | Image for Membership | IBWPPI

As we continue to adjust to the new normal, we want IBWPPI to be a home for Black women who want to connect, heal and support one another. Consider gifting yourself with a free membership and joining a network of global Black women. Become a member today by filling out the membership form here.

Why Join IBWPPI?

IBWPPI started 10 years ago in the spirit of global unity and sisterhood. Our mission is to connect and advocate for Black women globally through acts of kindness and public policy. We thank our members and ask that you continue your support of IBWPPI and ask others to join us.


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