Statement in Response to the UN Secretary-General’s Call to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
April 10, 2020

Statement by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues Answering the UN Secretary-General’s Call to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The United States recognizes the disproportionate impact that conflict and crises often have on women and girls. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen women around the world serving on the front lines as medical professionals, emergency workers, caregivers, and other essential personnel who are courageously stepping up and responding to the needs of those affected by the pandemic.

In addition to those women leading their communities in the fight against COVID-19, many women and girls around the world are battling the virus themselves. Moreover, in contexts where women and girls are already at risk of violence, the necessary public health measures put in place to battle the spread of the virus, such as social distancing, self-quarantining, and stay-at-home orders, may further endanger them.

In the United States, significant funding is allocated to the prevention of domestic violence, but during the COVID crisis, even more resources are set to address this problem. As only one example of our commitment, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will provide $45 million for the Health and Human Services (HHS) Family Violence Prevention and Services. This is in addition to $2 million in emergency support for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

As part of our unprecedented humanitarian response to this pandemic, the United States is also proud to support organizations that are responding to the increased risk of gender-based violence. Our efforts include programs such as Voices Against Violence: The Gender-Based Violence Global Initiative, which provides emergency assistance to survivors of gender-based violence, as well as small grants and capacity-building support for local civil society organizations and government officials as they work to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, especially in times of crisis. The United States also continues to support the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for its work on prevention of and response to gender-based violence globally.

Together with our UN and other international partners, the United States will continue leading the fight to protect women and girls from violence during this critical time.