Don’t Leave Them Behind: A clarion call to address domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic

CEJ has partnered with the Forum Against Gender-Based Violence (FAGBV) to address the shadow pandemic of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing project includes a range of activities such as experience-sharing sessions, capacity-building workshops, a research study, and advocacy initiatives.

To date, interviews have been conducted to study and document the increase in domestic violence cases during the pandemic in Anuradhapura, Hambantota, Monaragala, Kilinochchi, Batticaloa, and Puttalam. Additionally, an experience-sharing event on handling domestic violence incidents during the pandemic was held with civil society organizations, community-based organizations, and FAGBV members to document domestic violence incidents for advocacy and lobbying purposes. Participants generously shared their experiences in the field, which were incorporated into the overall research study. Study findings identified an acute need for support and, accordingly, relief packages are being distributed to 30 women in each district.

Two capacity-building workshops were conducted in local languages with the objective of enhancing participants’ ability to advocate and lobby for law, policy, and structural reforms at the local and national levels. Each workshop included 30-40 participants from the field, civil society organizations, and FAGBV members and covered a range of topics from domestic violence, the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and its loopholes, legal and policy recommendations, practical guidelines, advocacy, lobbying, and the role of civil society organizations.

This is an ongoing project; the drafting of a lobby document and a collective statement is underway and the development of a social media and news media campaign has begun. Stay tuned for more updates on this timely project!