This podcast is our second on the topic of domestic violence, and its impact on children, within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our focus today is on Sri Lanka, in South Asia. Champa Gunasekera and Samitha Sugathimala from the Foundation for Innovative Social Development (or FISD), in Sri Lanka speak to us about how FISD has been tackling the very serious issue of domestic violence during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, like many other countries, Sri Lanka has experienced lockdowns and school closures. These measures have mitigated the spread of COVID-19 but have also increased the risk factors for domestic violence. Raised stress levels in homes, with families together all of the time in the absence of school or work, have placed heavy strains on relationships. Globally, there has been an alarming rise in domestic violence, which the UN has described as “the shadow pandemic of domestic violence”.
FISD was established in 2011 to address gaps in social development in Sri Lanka and tackle the factors contributing to widespread poverty. By addressing issues such as child rights abuses, alcohol and other drug dependence, and gender-based violence, the organisation works to strengthen families and prevent separation. Its programmes empower women and promote positive masculinity for men and boys.
Foundation for Innovative Social Development