In an effort to combat sexual and gender-based violence and implications of the coronavirus pandemic, UN Women supported the Liberia National Police to conduct awareness campaigns in four counties in Liberia from 13 April to 28 April 2020 to inform and educate the public on how to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence including domestic violence.
UN Women with funding from the Embassy of Sweden, supported the Liberia National Police to conduct awareness campaigns in Bomi, Bong, Margibi and Montserrado Counties after realizing that, health crisis such as COVID-19 pandemic, put women and girls at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence as witnessed during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
“We learned from other countries that cases of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak,” says UN Women Country Representative for Liberia, Marie Goreth Nizigama.
The situation is compounded by preventive measures of social distancing, staying at home, and lockdowns. “The world over, when households are placed under strain, domestic violence usually goes up, like rapes, sexual exploitation, and abuse. We, therefore, urge the Government and civil society actors to provide a comprehensive response with interventions to prevent violence against women and girls,” says Ms. Nizigama.
Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police Chief of Community Policing, Assistant Commissioner Samuel Ford, has highlighted that more than 65,000 people were reached through the awareness campaigns. “The campaigns were conducted in compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which calls for the protection, prevention, and participation of women in crisis,’ he said.
The Liberia National Police urged community members to adhere to the COVID-19 preventive measures that have been put in place by the Government of Liberia and to report any cases of sexual and gender-based violence to the nearest police station.
As of 1 May 2020, Liberia had recorded 154 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 48 people had recovered from the disease, while 18 had died.
UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women is supporting the Government of Liberia to respond to COVID-19.