COVID-19 Learning, Evidence and Research (CLEAR) for Bangladesh: Violence Against Women

Qualitative studies show that during the pandemic, domestic violence survivors had to navigate a complex system, inefficient for their needs. Data regarding cases are scattered, providing an incomplete picture of the pandemic scenario. Therefore, it is important to have a more systematic review of the existing data to have an overall understanding of violence against women and girls during the pandemic and identify the scope of future research and policy uptake. The scoping paper provides an overview of the research carried out and evidence available on the status and trends in violence against women and girls during the 2020–2021 COVID-19 period in Bangladesh. Another objective is to provide an analysis of the key stakeholders and opportunities for CLEAR to influence decision-making and practice while considering their interests and influence. The scoping paper focuses on areas related to domestic violence, rape, and sexual harassment in the workplace, digital spaces, public spaces and transport; violence against women with disabilities; violence against ethnic groups; and violence faced by adolescents. It reviewed GBV trends, intersectional impact during lockdown (class, disability, and other aspects), disruption in access to legal process/social services, innovations by WROs or justice sector actors to provide access, and accountability gaps. Based on our review of the literature, we found that the common perception was that VAW is likely to have increased during COVID-19. Data collection on the issue was driven by practitioners’ need to understand developments on the ground, gather evidence, and raise awareness. Rapid spot assessments also took place, which allowed program adjustments and advocacy activities. However, there was a lack of coordination with the government for data collection and use.

Authors: Sultan, Maheen; Mahpara, Pragyna; Tasnin, Fariha
Type: Scoping paper