Name Impact of the Covid19 outbreak and lockdown on family dynamics and domestic violence in Palestine

Impact of the Covid19 outbreak and lockdown on family dynamics and domestic violence in Palestine

 This study was conducted by Juzoor for Health and Social Development, in partnership with United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), HAYA Programme, and the GBV Cluster. The data for this research was collected in April 2020 to examine the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown on family dynamics and domestic violence. This study also provides policy options and conclusions.



As the Covid-19 global pandemic continues, countries are adopting dedicated measures to slow the spread of the virus1. Actions such as physical distancing, closures of schools and businesses, and the imposition of travel restrictions help reduce the transmission of the virus. However, these measures may also result in the breakdown of societal infrastructure, as health, transport, food, sanitation, legal, security, and other governance structures temporarily contract or stop functioning. 2

The quarantine and physical distancing put many at risk of the negative consequences of loneliness, isolation, or domestic violence3. The disruption of social and protective networks, as well as decreased access to services can exacerbate the risk of violence for women4. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of gender based violence (GBV) and the threat of violence and other harmful practices have been on the rise at both the regional and national level5. Many victims of family violence (i.e. domestic violence and child abuse) are currently trapped in the home with a violent perpetrator during a time of severely limited contact with the outside world6. Violence against women and children (VAW/C) can have severe adverse psychological, economic, and physical effects for women and children throughout their lifetimes7.

In the context of Palestine, the prevalence of domestic violence is already exacerbated due to the ongoing humanitarian and political situation8. According to a survey conducted in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 2019 by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 29% of women reported experiencing violence by their husbands in the preceding 12 months (Statistics, 2019)9.

Following the identification of the first four COVID -19 cases in the West Bank on March 5, 2020, the Palestinian Authority (PA) declared a state of emergency across the country. Lockdown, movement restrictions, and the re-prioritization of resources and health services toward COVID-19 response have significantly impeded women and girls’ ability to access already limited GBV support, including safe spaces, shelters, and medical, psychosocial, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services10.

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