Report on Gender-Based Violence during the Covid-19 Pandemic Emergency in Kenya
During the Covid - 19 pandemic there has been increased concerns regarding the vulnerability of women and girls in experiencing sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).
To this end, recently President Kenyatta has called for Kenya's National Research Centre to investigate the rising number of SGBV violations and for immediate action to take place against perpetrators. This report responds to this call, by analysing interview data from survivors assessing patterns of SGBV during the pandemic.
In light of current health concerns, Kenya took action by introducing a nightly dusk-to-dawn curfew, school closures and restrictions to road, rail and air movements. This research has found three main impact of the Covid-19 emergency response upon SGBV.
1. Emergency measures are exacerbating the vulnerability of worm and children:
Due to school closures, children (particularly girls) are exposed to violence from neighbours due to a lack of alternative safe venues.
Women are more vulnerable due to social isolation and staying indoors with their abusers.
2. The socio-economic impact of the crisis has increased tensions within households, with reports of physical violence and increased homelessness for women.
3. Vulnerability to violence has been amplified across the population as a whole according to reports by human rights actors, with there being numerous incidents of death and injuries caused by the police while enforcing the COVID-19 emergency measures put into place
The following policy recommendations are offered based on our findings:
1. Ensure that inclusive, integrated, and multisectoral SGBV prevention and protection are central to the Kenyan government’s COVID-19 emergency and recovery plans at the national and subnational levels. Planning needs to include consideration of gender norms and dynamics.
2. Ensure that the protection of all children from sexual and other forms of violence is given utmost consideration in COVID-19 policy and preparedness planning. Children must be able to access alternative safe venues when schools are shut, and have access to SGBV services.
3. Implement real-time data collection and analysis to document SGBV to enable the identification of possible geographic clusters and crimes being perpetrated by the same offenders, and to measure SGBV service accessibility to ensure appropriate support.
Download the report here:
Flowe, H. D., Rockowitz, S., Rockey, J., Kanja, W., Kamau, C., Colloff, M. F., Kauldar, J., Woodhams, J., & Davies, K. (2020, July 28). Sexual and other forms of violence during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency in Kenya: Patterns of violence and impacts on women and girls. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3964124