The Shadow Pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19

One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data and reports from those on the front lines, have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified.

This is the Shadow Pandemic growing amidst the COVID-19 crisis and we need a global collective effort to stop it. As COVID-19 cases continue to strain health services, essential services, such as domestic violence shelters and helplines, have reached capacity. More needs to be done to prioritize addressing violence against women in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

Everyone has a role to play.

UN Women is providing up-to-date information and supporting vital programmes to fight the Shadow Pandemic of violence against women during COVID-19.


>Globally, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner
>Emerging data shows an increase in calls to domestic violence helplines in many countries since the outbreak of COVID-19.
> Sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women continue to occur on streets, in public spaces and online.
>Survivors have limited information and awareness about available services and limited access to support services.

In some countries, resources and efforts have been diverted from violence against women response to immediate COVID-19 relief.

UN Women focuses on six areas in its COVID-19 response:

Prevention and awareness-raising
Access to essential services, including helplines and shelters
Violence against women in public spaces
Online and ICT-facilitated violence against women and girls
Support for rapid assessments and data collection
The ‘duty of care’ of the private sector to support employees

During COVID-19, UN Women is working on prevention of violence and access to essential services, such as health, justice and policing, social services, helplines and coordination of these services, to provide support to those who have experienced and/or witnessed violence.

UN Women Report