March 15th Action 15. Make prevention and intervention of end gender-based violence essential services

Reports have shown that gender-based violence is increasing at an alarming rate during COVID-19. BWSS has experienced this trend first-hand.

This is consistent with evidence from previous pandemics that reveals increased violence against female health workers, online violence, femicide, harmful practices, and racial and ethnic discrimination and violence.[1] By September 2020, the UN reported that 48 countries had integrated prevention and response to violence against women and girls into COVID-19 response plans. Canada has yet to launch a national plan to address violence against women as part of the COVID-19 response.

Prevention and intervention to end gender-based violence should be considered essential services. Support for community-based organizations in need of long-term sustainable funding to support victims and survivors is crucial and must be included in provincial and federal recovery plans.

At BWSS, we can’t afford to be short of funds, staff, volunteers and other resources. Many women who call our crisis line are in immediate danger and in need of immediate services like emergency shelter. Our efficient and quick response save lives and bring women and their children to safety. Our services are essential.

Our intersectional approach helps us understand the needs of women from all walks of life. A recovery plan must be developed with the needs of women and girls in mind and with emphasis on the importance of understanding the issues of the most vulnerable groups of women that have been left out of the picture in the COVID-19 response plan – non-binary, gender diverse folks, Indigenous, Immigrants, women with different abilities.

[1] https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2020/gender-equality-in-the-wake-of-covid-19-en.pdf?la=en&vs=5142