Nepal | October 28, 2020

Women, children highly affected by COVID pandemic

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The National Women Commission today organised a webinar on ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Initiatives Taken by NWC and Nepal Police in Addressing Gender Based Violence Issues’ to highlight impact of pandemic on women and children across the country.

According to the NWC, women and children were affected more during COVID-19 pandemic. It operated 24 hours toll-free helpline (1145) to receive complaints from victims and provide necessary consultation to them, in coordination with the concerned agencies, mainly Nepal Police.

It said women and children faced the brunt of emotional, economic, physical and sexual violence during the fourmonth lockdown imposed by the Government of Nepal to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

It received 1,267 calls from GBV survivors. Bagmati Province recorded the highest number of calls with 448 calls responded by NWC.

The victims belonged to all castes and creeds. Most of the victims were aged between 26 and 40.

Cases of violence included rape, marital rape, murder, character assassination, polygamy, sexual harassment, physical assault and psychological torture.

The perpetrators included family members and close acquaintances.

Women working in the informal sector were affected more after they lost jobs due to the pandemic. Women were also denied their rights to reproductive health.

“Lack of gender-friendly policies resulted in economic, social and health impacts on women and children. Pregnant women had difficulty in receiving relief packages. Restriction on mobility put women at higher risk during the lockdown.

There is a need for increased collaboration among service providers to facilitate access of survivors to essential services such as health, psycho-social counselling, security and justice,” the NWC said.

During the webinar, Nepal Police had also presented a working paper on activities being conducted by it to protect women and children across the country.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 21, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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