Resisting, disrupting, and building the global movement to end Violence Against Women and Girls in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

November 25th marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, and the start of the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (November 25h to December 10th).

Solace Women’s Aid (Solace) is proud to stand in active solidarity with women in London, the UK and around the world as part of a movement to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

Today, on the eve of the global 16 days of activism, Solace brings together the voices of intersectional feminists and activists on a panel titled Voice of Change: Activism and Solidarity in the fight to end VAWG. The panel features global feminists Mona Eltahawy, Ngozi Fulani, Jenn Selby, Huda Jawad and Solace CEO Fiona Dwyer.

Since the start of the pandemic, the UN has reported 90 countries have gone into lockdown, and four billion people have or are facing movement restrictions with governments including the UK instructing people to shelter at home to stop the spread of Covid-19.

For millions of women around the world, home is not a safe space, and home is where women are at greatest risk of harm and violence along with their children.

“As a frontline service provider, Solace works directly with women fleeing domestic abuse and violence impacting all aspects of their lives. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased and exacerbated the daily dangers and risks women face here in the UK and around the world. Solace knows that for many women existing in the shadow of abuse and violence, lockdown never ends.” said Fiona Dwyer. 

Across the globe as countries went into lockdown there has at the same time been a reported rise to domestic abuse helplines and frontline organisations like Solace.

During the first lockdown the UK’s national domestic abuse hotline reported 40,000 calls to its national helpline.

Solace has seen an increase in women seeking help and alongside an increase in the volume of women contacting us we are seeing an increase in women with complex and multiple needs coming forward for help including women with mental health and therapeutic needs.

In some countries calls to helplines have increased fivefold, other countries have seen a decrease in survivors contacting authorities for help. The UN has raised the alarm on a generation of women and girls facing increased economic hardships, poverty and being denied an education as schools and higher education facilities have closed. Women around the world, under paid, exploited and in precarious employment are at additional risk of being exploited, abuse, harassment and forced and early marriage. There has also been a reported increase in female genital mutilation (FGM), forced sterilisation and a rowing back of women’s rights to safe and legal abortion.

This year’s 16 days of activism takes place during a year that has seen the global activism of the Black Lives Matter movement turn into a worldwide movement for racial justice, the mass global mobilisation of climate crisis activists, and women from Poland to Pakistan, Mexico to Nigeria take to the streets to demand their rights.