GBV cases increase due to Covid-19 restrictions

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By Christy Gomani

The Commonwealth Network against Child and Early Marriage (CONACEM) is calling for the integration of prevention and redress of violence against women, girls, and children as a key part of national response plans for Covid-19.

In a recent press statement, CONACEM fears that with the current suspension of the school calendar because of the pandemic, cases of gender based violence are likely to escalate and potentially cutting them off from essential protection services and social networks.

Commonwealth Network against Child and Early Marriage is a network of traditional leaders, young men and girls who are passionate about advancing issues of human rights, culture, education and development in Malawi.

The network was established following the Commonwealth’s mission to Malawi aimed at popularizing the Kigali declaration which sets out a comprehensive framework for national human rights institutions to take forward, strengthen and standardize their efforts to prevent and eliminate early and forced marriages.

Chimwemwe Kaonga who is Coordinator of the network commends the government for coming up with a response plan but also calls for more to be done.

“We call upon the government to put in place things such as toll free lines which victims of abuse can call and be assisted accordingly and also establishment of special units within the police to handle such matter during the pandemic,” Kaonga said.

The organization believes that with the restrictions such as closure of schools across the country, more women and girls are now confined to their homes and therefore spending more time with their abusers.

Statistics from across the globe are indicating a rise in gender based violence mainly due to the restrictions that have been effected by countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


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