European Union External Action

European Union in Colombia joins the fight against domestic violence in times of COVID19

09/09/2020 - 16:50
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The European Union and Corporación Sisma Mujer are joining forces to support victims of domestic violence in Colombia´s most affected areas by the virus and highest reports of domestic violence, such as the departments of Antioquia, Cundinamarca and Valle del Cauca. The programme will take place during the next 18 months, opening a range of gender-specific services and integrated measures to support affected women, girls and boys.

The initiative, with a budget of 780,000 Euros financed by the EU, enables efficient interventions for high-risk victims and institutional capacity-building. Concrete actions include buttressing institutional and civic monitoring systems and gender-specific methods of work, strengthening response capacities of local stakeholders and guaranteeing access to justice for women and children subject to domestic violence during the nationwide COVID-19 lock down.

 

The initiative will directly accompany 1,200 victims of domestic violence. Concrete services include increasing the capacity of two hotlines for survivors, legal counselling and litigation, temporary shelters, income-generating projects, safe transport for female medical workers as well awareness-raising campaigns. The initiative also seeks to create a Humanitarian Fund providing temporary access to food, transport, medicine, biosafety kits, and sexual and reproductive health for victims of domestic violence possibly infected by Covid-19.

 

Furthermore, it will contribute to enhancing governmental services and mobilizing inter-agency coordination that include mainstreaming best practices for documenting claims, attending to diverse sexual orientation, gender-sensitive budgeting, as well as monitoring of judicial accountability for perpetrators. Our local institutional allies range from Governor’s Offices, local Family Commissions and the Office of the Prosecutor, along with local NGO groups. The initiative aligns with the priorities of Colombia´s Vice President and the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Equality for Women, who actively participate in the Executive Committee that monitors the action.

 

“We must understand that nothing justifies domestic violence, our homes have become a safe space during the lock down, but the mandatory confinement has converted many households in places of physical and psychological violence that has caused the death of women, girls and boys in Colombia during the pandemic. We hope that this joint initiative with Sisma Mujer will enable us to prevent, attend and allow for recovery of livelihoods for victims,” said the Ambassador of the European Union in Colombia, Patricia Llombart.

 

According to data collected by our NGO implementing partner, Corporación Sisma Mujer, in 2019 in Colombia, once every 3 days a woman was murdered, every 24 minutes at least one woman was sexually assaulted and every 13 minutes a woman was attacked violently. In each case, the perpetrator was the woman´s partner or ex-partner. If we compare the current numbers with the latest data collected through the national domestic violence Hotline 155, administered by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Equality for Women, the substantial increase in violence is evident.

 

The action is financed by EU´s Thematic Program for Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities and is carried out within our #TeamEurope strategy, which combines resources of the European Union, its Member States and financial institutions, specifically the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to support partner countries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences.