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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Rethinking dating and sexual violence prevention for youth during the pandemic: examining program feasibility and acceptability

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Segura; Michelle Henkhaus; Victoria Banyard (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Sexual and dating violence (SDV) is a social and health but preventable public issue. Most evidence-based prevention programs have been evaluated using an in-person delivery mechanism. Project Dream, Own and Tell (DOT) is a 13- to 18-week SDV prevention program targeting youth from traditionally underserved communities in New York City that shifted from in-person to online delivery in response to social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the current study was to understand how youth perceive learning SDV prevention in an online environment (acceptability and feasibility of the online DOT program). A mixed methods triangulation design was used including responses to Ecological Momentary Assessments (n = 25), a brief post survey with Likert-scale items (n = 18), and semi-structured interviews with 12 participants. The sample comprised Latinx/Hispanic, Asian American, Arab American, and African American youth between the ages of 15 and 21 from urban communities. Youth indicated both strengths and challenges of the online format. Strengths included ease of fitting the program into their schedules, avoiding long commutes, and the potential to create a safe online space for participants to engage in sexual violence prevention discussions and thus, feel less exposed. Challenges included internet connectivity issues, difficulties in building trustworthy relationships with other participants when not sharing the same physical space, some characteristics of the program’s activities, and the lack of adequate space from which to attend the program (i.e., shared spaces).
Building emotional-political communities to address gendered violence against women and girls during COVID-19 in the favelas of Maré, Rio de Janeiro

AUTHOR(S)
Cathy McIlwaine; Miriam Krenzinger; Moniza Rizzini Ansari (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Social & Cultural Geography
Although the intensification of direct and indirect gendered violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extensively reported globally, there is limited research on women’s responses to it. Addressing calls to explore the relationships between emotional-affective atmospheres and politics during the pandemic as well as to centre analyses of gendered violence within geography, this paper explores how women in the favelas of Maré, in Rio de Janeiro have developed mutual support, (self)-care and activism in the face of the crisis. Engaging with nascent debates on responses to COVID-19, together with feminist geographical work on resistance to gendered violence, the article adapts the notion of ‘emotional communities’ developed by Colombian anthropologist, Myriam Jimeno, to examine how emotional bonds created among survivors of violence are reconfigured into political action. Drawing on qualitative research with 32 women residents and 9 community actors involved in two core community initiatives in Maré, the paper develops the idea of building reactive and transformative ‘emotional-political communities’ at individual and collective levels to mitigate gendered violence and wider intersectional structural violence. Emotional-political community building is premised on grassroots activism among women and organisations that develops as part of compassionate (self)-care and the quiet rather than spectacular politics of change.
The short- and long-term impact of COVID-19 lockdown on child maltreatment

AUTHOR(S)
Mengqing Long; Jia Huang; Yishun Peng (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new threat to child health and safety. Some studies suggest that social isolation and economic stress have exacerbated child abuse and neglect, whereas other studies argue that orders to stay at home are likely to promote parent–child relationships during this stressful time. Due to a lack of prospective studies including before–during–after lockdown assessments, the impacts of lockdown measures on child maltreatment are unclear. This study retrospectively investigated child maltreatment of 2821 Chinese children and adolescents from 12 to 18 (female, 59%) before, during and after lockdown, and identified risk factors. Potential predictors including socio-economic and individual mental health status were collected.
Gender-based violence during COVID-19 among adolescent girls and young women in Nairobi, Kenya: a mixed-methods prospective study over 18 months

AUTHOR(S)
Michele R. Decker; Kristin Bevilacqua; Shannon N. Wood (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: BMJ Global Health

Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) disproportionately experience gender-based violence (GBV), which can increase during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. A cohort of youth ages 15–24 in Nairobi, Kenya was surveyed at three time points over an 18-month period prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic: June–August 2019 (prepandemic), August–October 2020 (12-month follow-up) and May 2021 (18-month follow-up). This study characterised (1) prevalence, relative timing and help-seeking for leading forms of GBV, (2) GBV trajectories over 18 months and (3) associations of individual, dyad and COVID-related factors on GBV trajectories among AGYW (n=612) in Nairobi, Kenya. Virtual focus group discussions (n=12) and interviews (n=40) contextualise quantitative results.

Supporting survivors of child sexual abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic: an ecosystems approach to mobilizing trauma-informed telemental healthcare

AUTHOR(S)
Corry Azzopardi; Cynthia Sing-Yu Shih; Andrea M. Burke (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Canadian Psychology = Psychologie canadienne
The emergence of the COVID-19 global health pandemic and its associated adversities have had cascading and compounding effects on vulnerable children and families impacted by abuse and trauma. Mandated public health physical distancing measures necessitated an abrupt transition from traditional in-person mental healthcare to virtual mental healthcare. While ushering in new and unexpected opportunities, this shift presented significant challenges and unique implications for trauma-focused pediatric interventions. This article (a) proposes an ecological systems framework through which we can better understand the multilevel effects of child sexual abuse in the context of a pandemic; (b) describes our administrative and clinical processes for rapidly mobilizing a trauma-informed model of telemental healthcare for sexually abused children and families in a pediatric hospital setting; and (c) shares our clinical observations and experiences delivering therapy via virtual platforms during the early stage of the pandemic through an ecosystems lens.
COVID-19 global gender response tracker: factsheets
Institution: UN Women, UNDP
Published: November 2021
The COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker monitors responses taken by governments worldwide to tackle the pandemic, and highlights those that have integrated a gender lens. It captures two types of government responses: women’s participation in COVID-19 task forces and national policy measures taken by governments. It analyzes which of the policy measures address women’s economic and social security, including unpaid care work, the labour market and violence against women. The Tracker can provide guidance for policymakers and evidence for advocates to ensure a gender-sensitive COVID-19 policy response.
Patterns of sexual violence against adults and children during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya: a prospective cross-sectional study

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Rockowitz; Laura M. Stevens; James C. Rockey (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: BMJ Open

This study examined patterns of sexual violence against adults and children in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic to inform sexual violence prevention, protection, and response efforts. A prospective cross-sectional research design was used with data collected from March to August 2020.

A comparison of child abuse and neglect encounters before and after school closings due to SARS-Cov-2

AUTHOR(S)
Elizabeth Salt; Amanda T. Wiggins; Gena L. Cooper (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Risk factors for child abuse and neglect and commonly used reporting mechanisms were highly affected by SARS-Cov-2 pandemic; yet, little is known about the effects of SARS-Cov-2 on rates of child abuse and neglect. To compare overall rates, demographics, types of abuse and acuity of child abuse and neglect encounters seen at one university health system for the 6 months before and after school closings due to the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic. Data was extracted from a database of billed ICD10 codes for child abuse and neglect including sexual abuse codes. There were 579 encounters for patients <18 years of age and 476 unique patients.

Impacts of health-related school closures on child protection outcomes: a review of evidence from past pandemics and epidemics and lessons learned for COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Cirenia Chavez Villegas; Silvia Peirolo; Matilde Rocca (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: International Journal of Educational Development
Through a rapid review drawing on pandemics and epidemics with associated school closures, this article aims to understand first, the state of the evidence on impacts of school closures on select child protection outcomes and second, how governments have responded to school closures to protect the most vulnerable children. Only 21 studies out of 6433 reviewed met the inclusion criteria, with most studies exploring the effects of Ebola. While few studies were identified on harmful practices, a more robust evidence base was identified in regards to adolescent pregnancy, with studies pointing to its increase due to the epidemic or infection control measures, including school closures. The evidence base for studies exploring the impact on violence outcomes was limited, with sexual violence and exploitation located in a few studies on Ebola. Important lessons from this exercise can be applied to the COVID-19 response, particularly the inclusion of the most vulnerable children in programming, policy and further research.
The COVID‐19 pandemic: a first‐year review through the lens of IJGO

AUTHOR(S)
Sophie Maprayil; Amy Goggins; Francis Harris

Published: March 2021   Journal: International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics
A policy brief for UN Women on the impact of COVID‐19 on women has noted that, across the board, the impacts of COVID‐19 are exacerbated for women and girls. The health of women in general has been adversely affected, with resources being reallocated in the emergency response to COVID‐19 and frequently leading to the suspension or limitation of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH) services. The UN Women brief also paints a stark picture in terms of gender‐based violence, noting that as the pandemic deepens both social and economic stress, coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, many women have been forced to isolate with their abusers, a situation which has coincided with disruption or lack of access to the support services which they so desperately need. The UNFPA have predicted that the pandemic is also likely to cause significant delays to programs dedicated to preventing child marriage and female genital mutilation; the estimated projections are stark, with over 2 million more cases of FGM and 13 million more child marriages over the next 10 years than would otherwise have occurred. As the official journal of the International Federation for Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), IJGO is a major source for global cutting‐edge research and reports on issues affecting women's health, as well as addressing economic, social, and human rights issues.
Increased child abuse in Uganda amidst COVID‐19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Quraish Sserwanja; Joseph Kawuki; Jean H. Kim

Published: December 2020   Journal: Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

Globally, COVID‐19 lockdown measures have exposed children to more sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect. Although the COVID‐19 pandemic is likely to have long‐lasting adverse psychological effects on children, there have been comparatively few studies on children's health as compared with adults, particularly in low‐income countries. Uganda implemented one of the most stringent lockdowns with bans on transportation and gatherings as well as the closure of schools, stores and places of worship. In order to address the dearth of information in less developed regions, the article aims to provide an insight into the increased cases of child abuse in Uganda during the COVID‐19 pandemic. 


Impact of Covid-19 on youth in the Lake Chad region

AUTHOR(S)
Josaphat Tchetan Awo

Institution: Plan International
Published: December 2020

The crisis affecting the Lake Chad Basin is one of the most severe humanitarian emergencies in the world, having displaced more than 2.4 million people, half of whom are children. Most are internally-displaced but this number also includes refugees and returnees. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people living in humanitarian contexts are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and will continue to feel the post-pandemic impacts. For people living in areas with weak health systems, disrupted social support networks, and ongoing conflict and instability, the coronavirus is an additional crisis that they have to face and adapt to. Within this population, youth face increased vulnerability. Youth groups however, provide a critical voice for accountability at the community, state/district and national level. In addition, most youth groups tend to be self-led, volunteer-based, internally-funded and informal with little to no structure. As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on nations’ economies, the pressure for economic survival is heightened for this group who already face bleak employment or income generation prospects. Beyond the impact on youth as individuals, there’s a threat to their ability to contribute to community building through youth groups, as their focus shifts to economic survival. This report seeks to highlight the effects of the pandemic on young people, and how they are facing their future.

Gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic response in Italy.

AUTHOR(S)
Rebecca Lundin; Benedetta Armocida; Paola Sdao (et al.)

Published: December 2020   Journal: Journal of Global Health
Gender-based violence (GBV), with one out of three women worldwide experiencing violence in their lifetime, has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “global public health problem of epidemic proportions”. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO and other international authorities have warned about the increased risk of GBV related to more time spent indoors, isolation from social and protective networks, and greater social and economic stress re-lated to both the epidemic and response measures. In fact, since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, reports from many countries including France, Ger-many, Spain, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Argentina, Singapore, Canada, and the United States indicate that violence against women has increase.
Children on the brink: risks for child protection, sexual abuse, and related mental health problems in the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Sheila Ramaswamy; Shekhar Seshadri

Published: November 2020   Journal: Indian Journal of Psychiatry
In developing contexts such as India, children in adversity form a high-risk group, one that cannot be subsumed under the general category of children, who are generally considered as a vulnerable group in disaster and crisis situations. Child mental health issues in contexts of protection risks and childhood adversity tend to be over-looked in such crises. This article focuses on examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences on children in adversity, describing the increased child protection and psychosocial risks they are placed at, during and in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and its lockdown situation. It specifically links the lockdown and the ensuing economic issues to sexuality and abuse-related risks, as occur in contexts of child labour, child sex work and trafficking, child marriage and child sexual abuse, and that result in immediate and long-term mental health problems in children.
How does COVID-19 impact intrafamilial child sexual abuse? Comparison analysis of reports by practitioners in Israel and the US

AUTHOR(S)
Dafna Tener; Amitai Marmor; Carmit Katz (et al.)

Published: October 2020   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

There is consensus in child sexual abuse (CSA) literature that intrafamilial child sexual abuse (IFCSA) has a tremendous impact on children and families while simultaneously creating challenges for practitioners. COVID-19 impacted countries worldwide and generated a global crisis resulting in impacts on daily life, however, it’s effect on IFCSA is unknown. This study aimed to compare professional perspectives and experiences working with IFCSA with respect to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic within the United States and Israel.

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