Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has created big impacts on the lives of children and families in many different ways. One has been an increase in domestic violence, as families found themselves struggling to adapt to lockdowns. It is estimated that a staggering 85 million girls and boys may have been exposed to physical, sexual and emotional violence in the first three months of the pandemic alone.
As we work closely with families every day, we were aware of this issue and set out to tackle it. Here are some of the amazing projects you have been supporting through Family, led by local people working in their own communities.
Uniting families through gardening
In Sri Lanka, Champa and her team implemented a home gardening programme for over 1500 families. This both improved food security at a turbulent time, and kept families occupied with a positive outdoor activity. “Parents were not used to having children at home, and they did not know how to manage this stressful situation,” said Champa. “This project strengthened family relationships, reducing domestic violence without directly talking about domestic violence.”
Resilience training for children with disabilities
Iftekhar and his team support children with disabilities to live well and to protect their rights in Bangladesh. During lockdown, these children were at an increased risk of domestic violence and neglect, so he created a resilience training course to help them to protect themselves from harm. It taught the children about their rights, including around safe touch, violence and abuse, and how to address violations of these rights. Over 650 children reported a reduction in domestic violence as a result.
Empowering girls through sport
In India, kabbadi is a popular sport, most often played by boys. But Deep and his team have used it as a hook to bring girls together to build self-confidence, learn about their rights, and build stronger support networks. The initiative was launched before the pandemic, and over 2000 children took part. The results were overwhelmingly positive, with domestic violence within this group being vastly compared to before the programme was started.
Promoting positive parenting
In Guatemala, Nancy and her team supported families that were at-risk of domestic violence by providing positive parenting workshops using Zoom and WhatsApp. The workshops covered themes such as self-esteem, communication, conflict resolution and child rights, and the regular communication also meant that our team was able to maintain contact with families in need throughout lockdown. Following the course, two-thirds of the families who participated said that violence in their homes had reduced.
Our domestic violence work is made possible through donations from supporters like you. To learn more about this work, you can download our Domestic Violence Prevention Toolkit from our Resource Library.