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Since the outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19), emerging data and reports from those on the front lines have shown that all types of violence against women and girls (VAWG) have intensified in countries affected by the pandemic. Before the pandemic, it was estimated that one in three women will experience violence during their lifetimes.

Globally, 18% of ever-partnered women and girls aged 15–49 have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a current or previous partner in the previous 12 months. Further, with COVID-19 there are reports of surges in violence against women (VAW) around the world being reported in many cases of upwards of 25% in countries with reporting systems in place.

For every 3 months the lockdown continues, an additional 15 million additional cases of gender-based violence are expected.

Against this backdrop, the policy paper summarises published, grey literature and media reports on the rise of GBV as an aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic and lock downs in Africa. The paper documents the sharp increases in GBV outlining the consequences, emerging priorities, promising practices and highlight their potential to effectively support and protect women and girls from gender based violence as a standard part of response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Africa region.

The paper also outlines some practical evidence-based recommendations to AU Member States and other stakeholders to ensure actions against GBV are mainstreamed in their COVID-19 response and recovery activities.

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