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Alessandra Guedes

Gender and development manager (Research)

Alessandra has dedicated 20 years of her professional life to promoting children’s and women’s rights and health, including working intensively to end violence against children and against women. She joined Innocenti in 2019 to lead the development and implementation of a research programme to address key issues and constraints to achieving gender equity within child protection, with a particular focus on addressing the interlinkages between violence against children and violence against women. Prior to joining UNICEF, Alessandra served as the World Health Organization’s Regional Advisor for the Americas on family violence prevention (2009-2019) and as the co-chair of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative’s Coordinating Group, a role she continues to occupy. Alessandra holds a Master of Science in Public Health for Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a Masters of Arts in Art Therapy from the George Washington University.

Publications

Children and COVID-19 Research Library Quarterly Digest: October 2021
Publication

Children and COVID-19 Research Library Quarterly Digest: October 2021

Even before COVID-19, over 1 billion children (aged 2–17 years) reported experiencing sexual, physical or emotional violence every year. Across their lifetimes, 1 in 3 women are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. Violence against children and against women are highly interconnected. Children who witness or experience violence are more likely to perpetrate it or be victimized in adulthood, thus continuing the cycle of violence. This digest highlights 13 newly curated research papers on the topic of COVID-19 and violence against children, selected based on criteria such as relevance to children's rights; a diversity of research methodology; and insights from low- and middle-income countries.

Articles

Remote data collection on VAW: A conversation with experts (Part 1)
Think Piece

Remote data collection on VAW: A conversation with experts (Part 1)

Violence against women (VAW) is a priority global concern especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporting survivors during this time requires understanding the characteristics and magnitude of violence and effectiveness of responses – for which we need rigorous research. Researchers are well positioned to contribute to policy dialogue, drawing both on past evidence to inform critical pandemic responses, as well as studying dynamics as they unfold to inform real-time decisions and future pandemics.
Remote data collection on VAC: A conversation with experts (Part 2)
Think Piece

Remote data collection on VAC: A conversation with experts (Part 2)

Global stakeholders have raised concerns about the implications of COVID-19 for violence against children (VAC). An increased risk of violence could result from a variety of compounding structural, interpersonal and individual-level risk factors, including the increased economic strain placed on families, stay-at-home orders, school closures and other COVID-19 response measures. Over 165 governments have urged the UN to “Protect our Children” and the leaders of 22 organizations have called for the need to integrate measures to protect children from violence in COVID-19 response plans. To guide action on preventing and responding to violence, eight UN agencies outlined a child rights and multi-sectoral framework agenda for action. Initial and preliminary evidence on COVID-19 and VAC suggests that the pandemic could affect not only the risks of violence, but also help-seeking behavior and access to violence-related services.
5 Questions on Research on Violence against Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Article

5 Questions on Research on Violence against Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

A new publication produced jointly by UNICEF Innocenti and UNICEF Data and Analytics provides guidance on ethical data collection and research on violence against children in the context of COVID-19 and beyond. We sat down (virtually) with one of UNICEF Innocenti’s researchers involved in producing this research guidance, Alessandra Guedes, Gender and Development Research Manager, to discuss what this publication is about, why it has been produced and what the key messages from the publication are.
Research agenda on intersections of violence against children and violence against women
Article

Research agenda on intersections of violence against children and violence against women

(14 June 2022) Why develop a research agenda? As global evidence and interest in the intersections between violence against children (VAC) and violence against women (VAW) continue to grow, researchers and practitioners from the VAC and VAW fields are seeking ways to better collaborate and thus ensure the best outcomes for victims / survivors of both types of violence. To meet these needs and identify key evidence gaps, the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti is partnering with the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI), to collaboratively develop a research agenda for the intersections of VAC and VAW.

Blogs

Can social protection simultaneously reduce violence against children and violence against women?
Blog

Can social protection simultaneously reduce violence against children and violence against women?

Despite the identification of cash transfers as a promising evidence-informed strategy to address violence against children (VAC) and violence against women (VAW) – until recently, there was little evidence from low- and middle-income country settings (LMICs), that assessed the effects of such interventions on both in the same study. Yet, cash transfers and broader forms of social protection have potential to address both forms of violence through shared risk factors, including reductions in poverty and economic stress, or through complementary ‘plus’ programming targeting risk factors related to conflict in the home or violence norms (see reviews on VAC and IPV).   In this blog, we summarize five studies completed in the last two years that examine impacts of cash, cash-for-work and cash plus programmes on both violent discipline of children and male intimate partner violence against women (IPV) from diverse LMICs – Bangladesh, Colombia, Mali, the Philippines and Rwanda. We include both studies evaluating the effects of cash alone, cash plus programming, as well as those that evaluate just the impacts of the ‘plus’. We focus on studies that were rigorously designed and measured violent discipline and IPV in the same household (rather than those focused on violence against adolescent girls, which might fall in the nexus of both categories of violence). To our knowledge, with the exception of a previous study in Mexico (from 2013), these 5 studies are the only available publications from LMICs examining both types of violence in the same evaluation. We also offer key take away messages and suggest areas for future research.     Bangladesh: An experimental study examined post-intervention effects of the Transfer Modality Research Initiative pilot, implemented in rural areas over 24 months by the World Food Programme. The intervention provided both transfers (cash and food), as well as a group-based nutrition behavior change (BCC) intervention to women with young children living in poor households. The evaluation found reductions in physical IPV of 26% among women in the cash plus BCC arm, however no impacts in the transfer only arm (and no impacts on emotional IPV). In addition, the authors examine two indicators of physical violent discipline from parents taken from the HOME inventory (whether mothers had hit the child during the week prior to the study and if parents react with physical discipline if they are hit by the child). The study found reductions of 25% to 38% across violent discipline indicators, again in the cash plus BCC arm (8 to 12 percentage points [pp]- reported in the online appendix). The author’s examination of mechanisms for IPV suggests that reductions in poverty-related stress, and increases in household economic status, which were larger in the BCC arm, may be a possible joint pathway for reductions in both violence measures (Roy et al. 2019 in the Review of Economics and Statistics).   Colombia: A quasi-experimental study of the government’s conditional cash transfer program targeted to poor households with school-aged children, Familias en Acción, used variation in the timing of bi-monthly payments at the municipality level paired with municipality-level administrative data on reported levels of violence from health and legal services. The authors show that rates of overall domestic violence, as well as rates of IPV from administrative data reported to health and justice systems, decrease by 6% in payment months. In contrast, there are no changes in reported domestic violence specifically against minors. Authors also show that household spending is higher in payment months—suggesting a poverty and stress reduction mechanism achieved via higher consumption expenditures (Camacho & Rodriguez 2020 in the CEDE Working Paper series)   Mali: An experimental study of the government’s Jigisémèjiri program, an unconditional quarterly cash transfer given primarily to male heads of household found decreases in IPV after 24-months. These decreases were concentrated in polygamous households (making up 40% of the sample), where reductions were found for controlling behaviors (23% or 16 pp), emotional IPV (37% or 13 pp) and physical IPV (40% or 7 pp). The study also reported on VAC among a target child aged 2 to 4 years old using the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey measures – showing similar trends as for IPV. Measures of psychological aggression against children were insignificant in the full sample, however physical punishment and number of total acts showed reductions—which increased in magnitude and significance among the polygamous households (showing decreases in psychological aggression of 16% or 11 pps and in physical punishment of 20% or 17 pps). Key mechanisms underlying impacts were reductions in men’s stress and anxiety, as well as in reported household disputes (Heath et al. 2020 in the Journal of Development Economics).   The Philippines: An experimental study of a locally-adapted 12-session group-based parenting program (Masayang Pamilya Para Sa Batang Pilipino – or MaPa) layered on the government flagship conditional cash transfer (Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Programme) reported impacts at program end and 12-months post program. The evaluated intervention reached female caregivers of children aged 2 to 6 years in low-income families in urban Manila. The evaluation found reductions in incidence and frequency of child maltreatment at both follow-up waves, measuring using the ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening tool (e.g. a 49% reduced risk of physical abuse at post-intervention and a 48% reduced risk of neglect). For IPV, risk reductions at program end were 63% and at 12 months post-intervention were 49%. Possible common mechanisms of impact were those reducing overall incidence of family conflict and stress, increased caregiver efficacy and confidence when dealing with male spouses, fewer daily child behavior problems, and lower parenting dysfunction, among others (Lachman et al. 2021 in The Lancet Regional Health – Western Pacific).   Rwanda: An experimental study examined the impacts of the Sugira Muryango program – a home-visiting-based parenting intervention – layered on a government flagship social protection program ‘Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme’ targeting poor households with direct cash support and public works. Sugira Muryango included 12 sessions delivered over 3 months by community-based coaches promoting early childhood development (ECD) and preventing family violence. The study examined outcomes at 12-months post-intervention, showing reductions in female caregiver reports of IPV experience (IRR=0.616, 95% CI 0.458 to 0.828) as well as VAC as measured by harsh parenting using the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey measures (IRR=0.741, 95% CI 0.657 to 0.835). However, no significant impact was shown on male caregiver report of IPV perpetration (among an alternate sample of households where male caregivers were surveyed). The program also showed significant increases in engaging fathers in childcare and select child development outcomes (Jensen et al. 2021 in BMJ Global Health).   Take away messages and future studies   Taken together, these studies suggest a similar pattern of impacts. Across all but one study (Colombia), where impacts are found on IPV—the similar direction of impacts are found for VAC. In Bangladesh, impacts are only observed with the addition of plus components. However, in Rwanda and the Philippines—the evaluation focuses exclusively on the plus intervention—thus we are unable to fully disentangle if there are synergistic or countervailing impacts of the economic component alone. In three cases (Bangladesh, the Philippines and Rwanda) the evaluation includes post-intervention effects, showing that reductions in both IPV and VAC are sustained even after the program ends. The lack of impacts for VAC in Colombia may be due to the use of administrative data on cases of violence reported to health and justice systems (which capture only a fraction of violence prevalence), or the identification strategy (relying on the timing of payments) may not be meaningful enough variation for impacts. In spite of differences in social protection strategies and methodologies used to measure impact, overall, these results show that social protection is a promising intervention and platform to reduce both violence against children and violence against women.   Moving forward, more studies are needed that explore the effectiveness of social protection on multiple dimensions of violence. In doing so, evaluations will need to take a more holistic approach to map out pathways of impact and measure violence. For example, to affect IPV, social protection evaluations often target and focus on women alone and seek to empower her and change her circumstances – however to fundamentally change violence inside the home and parenting practices tied to violent discipline, it is essential to involve and collect data from men as well. In addition, more evidence is needed on possible intergenerational effects – another key point of intersection between VAC and VAW — for example, linking benefits realized by adolescent girls in households receiving social protection benefits to stability and freedom from violence in future intimate relationships. From a methodological standpoint, this research agenda is ripe for inter-disciplinary collaboration between development economists who typically evaluate social protection programming, and public health experts on VAC and VAW.   Stay tuned for more work from UNICEF Innocenti and partners on the intersection of VAC and VAW, including systematic reviews (on effective interventions and shared risk factors) and results from Mozambique’s Child Grant evaluation measuring impacts on violent discipline and IPV.         Authors: Amber Peterman is a Research Associate Professor at UNC where she co-leads the Cash Transfer and Intimate Partner Violence Research Collaborative and consultant to UNICEF Innocenti, Alessandra Guedes is the Gender & Development Research Manager at UNICEF Innocenti.   The authors would like to thank Elena Camilletti and Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed for helpful comments.      
Can we change the way we think about violence against children and women?
Blog

Can we change the way we think about violence against children and women?

Selina was 8 the first time her father hit her. And while he tearfully apologized afterwards, a few weeks later he did it again. Her mother often suffered the same fate, she knew, behind closed doors. It became a pattern in Selina’s life whenever he was drinking – and angry. When Selina was a teenager, her first boyfriend was much like her father – loving and warm at times – but with a violent underside that left her cowering with fear. But Selina was accustomed to these unpredictable, alternating displays of rage and affection and found his protectiveness comforting. At 17, she became pregnant, and after suffering her parents’ disapproval, left home to live with her boyfriend. His aggressiveness began to escalate as her belly grew, and after one particularly violent night, she started spotting. She began to fear for her health and pregnancy. Selina decided to leave, but was not sure where to turn. The women’s shelters she had heard of only accepted women 18 years and older. The officer at the police station threatened to call her parents. With nowhere else to go, she spent the night on a park bench, uncertain of what the future would hold. ***Selina’s story represents not just a personal tragedy, but the failure of systems - systems that are often structured to respond separately to situations of violence against women and violence against children. They can fail the needs of certain groups – such as adolescents – as well as miss the opportunity to break intergenerational cycles of violence. What do we know about different types of violence?Although only the more gruesome stories about partner homicide or severe child maltreatment tend to make headlines, the truth is violence against women and children is sadly commonplace. According to most recent WHO estimates, 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetime, a number that had remained largely unchanged over the past decade, at least until the pandemic. Intimate partner violence starts early: 1 in 4 young women (aged 15-24 years) who have been in a relationship will have already experienced violence by the time they reach their mid-twenties. Children are no better off - a multi-country study of 96 countries suggests that more than half (1 billion) of the world’s children aged 2-17 experienced physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse during the past year. Violence against children, adolescents, and women is likely to increase as a result of COVID-19 confinement measures, further spurring the international community to recognize these as human rights and public health problems of critical importance with important development implications, including for countries’ immediate and long-term pandemic responses. But while the violence experienced by Selina at the hands of her father and boyfriend are often seen as unfortunate, individual incidents, they are, in fact. highly interconnected. Men who hit their partners - such as Selina’s father - were often abused themselves as boys, or witnessed their fathers being violent towards their mothers. The same goes for girls, like Selina, who grow up exposed to intimate partner violence. Children in such households tend to mimic these harmful, gendered patterns in their own relationships – in adolescence, and later on in adulthood: boys may grow up to perpetrate violence, and girls may grow up to experience it.   Experiencing violent discipline, and being exposed to intimate partner violence in the childhood home both increase the risk of violence in adulthood, either as victims or perpetrators.What can be done to help break the cycle of violence?A new strategy document from UNICEF examines how and why UNICEF and international partners should pay greater attention to the gender dimensions of violence against children and adolescents, including drivers of violence, and offers concrete ways to more effectively prevent and respond to this issue. Solutions are based on existing evidence as well as guidance and frameworks for action developed by international partners (such as INSPIRE and RESPECT). The first step should be to recognize that Selina’s experiences of violence are not one-off occurrences, nor should they be relegated to the realm of “private” family affairs. Violence occurs across the lifespan and is both a reflection and a mechanism to perpetuate larger socio-normative and gender inequalities that increase the vulnerabilities of children, adolescents and women. The same social norms that condone such violence also contribute to discrimination against boys, men, and LGBTQI+ individuals. Interventions, then, should employ a life course and gender transformative approach that addresses the root causes of gender-based inequalities and works to transform harmful gender roles, norms, and power imbalances.The second step could be to start with Selina’s parents. There should be a greater investment in helping sexual and reproductive health services, including prenatal care, prevent and respond to intimate partner violence against pregnant women and new mothers. Additionally, preliminary evidence suggests that parenting and caregiver programs can not only reduce parents’ use of violent discipline against their children but that they can potentially lower the risk of intimate partner violence. Helping Selina’s mother – and intervening with her father - in the early years could have contributed to breaking the cycle of violence for herself and for her daughter. Thirdly, to help adolescents like Selina and her newborn, expand services for girls, boys, and women who experience violence, ensuring that they are age and gender appropriate. At a minimum, prepare service providers to a) recognize links between violence against children/adolescents and child and adolescent health (both physical and mental); and b) understand implications of intimate partner violence for both women and children’s health and wellbeing. A sensitized police officer may have reacted more appropriately to Selina’s plea for help, and a well-resourced women’s shelter would have known to connect her with youth-friendly services – or they could have taken her in themselves. Finally, changes should be made at a systems level; whole systems approaches should be used, with actors from different sectors (such as medical, child protection, legal/justice, education sectors) working together rather than in siloes. Case country studies from Cambodia, Viet Nam, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea jointly conducted by UN Women, UNICEF, and UNFPA, have highlighted opportunities for coordination of services for violence against women and violence against children. Hope for the future?Although knowledge gaps remain, particularly where low- and middle-income countries are concerned, promising systematic reviews have examined the effectiveness of strategies such as parenting interventions to prevent violence against children, support women parenting in the context of intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors, cash transfer programmes to decrease IPV, and programmes for boys and men to prevent sexual, dating, and intimate partner violence. There are ample promising practices from which to draw inspiration. And while there is much work to be done, the future is bright: one final, and important conclusion emerging from global evidence is that violence against children, adolescents and women is indeed preventable. We can and should do our part for the Selinas of the world. UNICEF is committed to addressing the gender dimensions of violence against children, including its intersections with violence against women.   Floriza Gennari is Consultant on violence prevention in the Child Rights and Protection Team. Alessandra Guedes is Gender and Development Research Manager at UNICEF Innocenti.
Researchers reflect on what inspired them to work on gender
Blog

Researchers reflect on what inspired them to work on gender

To mark International Women's Day 2021 we asked three Innocenti researchers to share what inspired them to work on gender issues.  Alessandra Guedes (centre), Gender and Development Research Manager, UNICEF InnocentiAlessandra Guedes has dedicated 20 years of her professional life to promoting children’s and women’s rights and health, including working intensively to end violence against children and against women.I actually didn’t intentionally set out to work on gender and came to the issue in a roundabout way. I often joke that while I started out by studying what, in my opinion, is arguably humanity at its best (I have a degree in studio art!), I ended up working with humanity at its worse: violence against children and against women. How did I get here? Few things are as important to me as social justice and once I started working on the issue of violence prevention over 20 years ago, there was no turning back. globally, one-third of women continue to experience violence at the hands of those who should love and protect them: their partnersMy journey started haphazardly when I was offered a position to work with International Planned Parenthood setting up services for women who had experienced violence within reproductive health clinics in Latin America and the Caribbean. It didn’t take long to become obvious that women’s rights and gender-based violence were areas of work that were spearheaded primarily by women. Women have spent centuries (millennia?) protesting all kinds of injustices committed against them simply because they are women. The same impetus to fight for women’s right to vote or to drive is what keeps us working to change the fact that, globally, one-third of women continue to experience violence at the hands of those who should love and care for them: their partners. While this is the most common form of violence against women and girls, plenty more females experience other forms of gender-based violence, including femicide. While I started working specifically on violence against women and girls, I’ve come to understand that these forms of violence are intimately connected with violence against children and that many drivers are shared across these manifestations of violence.  Equipped with this knowledge, I’m supporting UNICEF to address the gender dimensions of violence against children, including looking for ways to end violence in the home. I am both inspired and grateful to all of the women on whose shoulders I stand. Many have been imprisoned, some have been killed, fighting for equality across gender, race and ethnicity. I hope that my work will add a grain of sand to their heroic efforts. See an example of Alessandra’s research on violence against women and violence against children.   Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, Gender and Development Research Manager, UNICEF InnocentiZahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed has extensive experience in women's rights and gender equality across organisations and within large-scale development projects.Today, I can say I am a researcher – a qualitative researcher – exploring gender, care work (paid and unpaid) and social protection. But my inspiration started small, and with no name. Growing up I had no terms to make sense of the world I lived in, the world people I knew lived in, the world people I didn’t know, but would observe, lived in.  But there was curiosity, a lot of it. I would search for answers – mostly through books. When I got older, and a little less shy, I ventured beyond the books and would speak to others to find out a bit more. Still, there was no name. Let me dig a little deeper. After all, what is research if not trying to uncover what is unknown and make sense of it?  My inspiration really started with what I would observe inside and outside homes: what girls would do, what boys would do, what women would do, what men would do. Or more, what could be done, and what couldn’t be done. Still, I had no name. Only what I saw (or maybe also what I didn’t see). Over time, I found the words, the terms: that what could or couldn’t be done forms part of the unequal division of labour inside and outside homesOver time, I found the words, the terms: that what could or couldn’t be done forms part of the unequal division of labour inside and outside homes; that the activities that boys and girls, women and men are often told they can do feeds into our understanding of care work in homes, paid work outside the home, and also that sometimes these unpaid care activities are commodified, in the form of paid care work. So, what really inspired me to do research on gender - home: the home I lived in, the homes people I knew lived in, the homes people I didn’t know, but would observe, lived in; and over time the people who left their homes, who worked in homes, and those who lost homes. See an example of Zahrah’s research on gender and unpaid care work.   Elena Camilletti, Research Officer in Gender and Adolescence, UNICEF InnocentiElena Camilletti conducts research on the political economy of gender in social protection, unpaid care and domestic work, and gender norms, in low- and middle-income countries.My commitment to gender equality, and my interest in making that my career, has come gradually over time, but it goes back to my adolescence years. During that time, as it’s often the case for all adolescents, I started to become more aware of the world around me, the inequalities and injustices that I was seeing, in my family, in my community, in my country, and beyond, as I was growing up. When it was time to choose my University degree, and later on when applying for jobs, I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could make a small, humble, contribution to the fight against those inequalities, those injustices. Gender inequalities specifically remain, in my opinion, the main obstacle to a world that’s just and caring, where equal opportunities exist for all genders.Gender inequalities specifically remain, in my opinion, the main obstacle to a world that’s just and caring, where equal opportunities exist for all genders. And research on gender inequalities is the first step to being able to make a difference: understanding their prevalence, for example the amount of time that women and girls spend on unpaid care and domestic work; investigating their root causes, for example unpacking the social and gender norms that drive gender inequalities; and identifying interventions that work to change those, sustainably. But ultimately what brought me to a career on gender equality and children’s rights, is the potential to use the evidence generated to raise awareness on these gender inequalities, and inform action, for current and future generations to benefit from. Something that I’m proud we at UNICEF Innocenti are committed to doing! See Elena’s research on adolescence and gender. 
girl_from_pluto é parte de um pequeno grupo de fotógrafos adolescentes
Blog

Cinco estratégias que os governos estão utilizando para responder à violência contra mulheres e crianças durante a COVID-19

Embora o mundo tenha sido pego de surpresa pelo tamanho e pelas ramificações da crise da COVID-19, ele deveria estar preparado para responder aos riscos crescentes ao bem-estar e à segurança de mulheres e crianças. A violência contra as mulheres e a violência contra as crianças são disseminadas globalmente e intrinsicamente conectadas, tendo em comum fatores de risco e profundas e similares consequências adversas. A literatura sobre pandemias pode ser limitada, mas temos evidência suficiente para dizer, sem sombra de dúvida, que fatores relacionados, como o confinamento, o isolamento social, níveis aumentados de estresse financeiro e respostas institucionais fracas, podem elevar ou intensificar os graus de violência. “De fato, ao longo do mês passado, notícias alertaram para a ‘tempestade perfeita’, que se manifestou em mais chamadas para linhas telefônicas de ajuda, serviços on-line de apoio e boletins de ocorrência.”De fato, ao longo do mês passado, notícias alertaram para a “tempestade perfeita”, que se manifestou em mais chamadas para linhas telefônicas de ajuda, serviços on-line de apoio e boletins de ocorrência. Organizações multinacionais agiram rapidamente, emitindo declarações que alertavam sobre o aumento do risco das duas formas de violência, enquanto pesquisadores revisavam evidências de crises passadas, propondo políticas para mitigar danos potenciais a populações em situações de vulnerabilidade. Enquanto os governos incrementam as respostas à COVID-19, o que está realmente sendo feito para combater a violência?   1. Expansão das linhas telefônicas de ajuda e compartilhamento de informaçãoA informação está sendo largamente compartilhada através de manuais, recursos e ações de defesa visando amigos e familiares. O programa Parenting for Lifelong Health compilou um guia comprovadamente eficaz para a conduta segura de pais durante a quarentena. Linhas telefônicas de ajuda e plataformas de apoio on-line estão sendo expandidas ou criadas. A Itália, um dos países mais atingidos pela pandemia, está evitando “uma emergência dentro de uma emergência” por meio da linha telefônica de ajuda 1522 para violência e perseguição. Muitos outros países estão se comprometendo a manter linhas telefônicas de ajuda e canais de informação abertos durante e após o pico da COVID-19.   2. Criação de abrigos e de outras opções de acomodação segura para sobreviventesMuitos países reconhecem que alojamentos seguros são necessários em tempos de quarentena. Acomodações seguras permitem que as sobreviventes (e os menores que os acompanham) evitem temporariamente seus agressores. Como parte do pacote de ajuda para enfrentar COVID-19, o Canadá distribuiu 50 milhões de dólares canadenses entre abrigos para mulheres e centros para agressão sexual [18 de março]. Na França, um reforço de 1,1 milhão de euros em financiamento para organizações antiabuso incluíram 20 mil pernoites em hotéis para sobreviventes se protegerem de parceiros abusivos [30 de março]. Em Trento (Itália), um promotor decretou que, em situações de violência doméstica, o agressor deve deixar a casa, ao invés da vítima [28 de março]. Decretos semelhantes foram feitos na Áustria e Alemanha. Apesar da decisão ser louvável, ela faz com que garantir a segurança de sobreviventes que permaneceram em casa seja um desafio, uma vez que os agressores conhecem o local e talvez tenham acesso a ele. Julia, 16 anos, assiste a aulas on-line em casa, enquanto seus pais realizam teletrabalho durante o surto de Coronavírus em Nova Iorque3. Expansão do acesso aos serviços para sobreviventesComo a quarentena limita a mobilidade pessoal e a liberdade de movimento, alguns países estão encontrando maneiras de expandir o acesso a serviços ligados à violência. A França deu início a centros ‘pop up’ em supermercados, lugares que as mulheres provavelmente já estão visitando [30 de março]. Em diversos países (incluindo França, Itália e Espanha), uma ‘palavra-código’ específica sinaliza às farmácias para contatar as autoridades relevantes. Alguns países lançaram ou aprimoraram aplicativos ocultos  através dos quais as mulheres podem buscar os serviços e assim evitar ligar quando estão perto dos agressores (veja Italy, UK, entre outros). Serviços de proteção para mulheres e crianças devem ser considerados “essenciais”, e não bloqueados durante a COVID-19.   4. Limitando fatores de risco associados à violênciaAlguns países estão tentando resolver as formas negativas de se lidar com a COVID-19, as quais podem exacerbar o risco de violência. A Groenlândia proibiu a venda de álcool na capital Nuuk para reduzir o risco de violência a crianças que estão em casa [29 de março]. A África do Sul adotou medidas semelhantes [26 de março]. Embora se demonstre que o abuso de álcool e seu uso problemático estejam ligados a episódios mais graves de violência, a relação é complexa e as evidências de como as políticas relacionadas ao álcool afetam a violência são limitadas. Outros países, contudo, ainda precisam tomar medidas proativas para limitar os riscos associados. Restringir a venda de armas, por exemplo, limitaria o acesso a armas letais em um período de estresse exacerbado, reduzindo potencialmente o risco de feminicídio e de morte infantis. Ações políticas inteligentes podem reduzir o risco de danos e facilitar saídas positivas a fim de diminuir o estresse e promover a saúde mental.   5. Modificações no direito da família e nos sistemas de justiçaA Austrália implementou uma série de modificações no direito da família para permitir ao sistema de justiça responder com mais eficiência aos casos durante a quarentena [3 de abril]. Primeiro, eles permitem que os tribunais exijam monitoramento eletrônico nos casos de fiança e que suspendam, sob certas condições, ordens de prisão. Segundo, eles possibilitam o registro on-line de ordens de restrição. Terceiro, eles criam uma nova infração, multas mais altas e expansão do prazo de prescrição das ordens restritivas. À medida que mais países vivenciam períodos prolongados de suspensão dos serviços de justiça, inovações e emendas adicionais são necessárias para assegurar a proteção dos sobreviventes em situações desafiadoras.     Essas ações são louváveis, embora muitos países ainda não tenham  empregado recursos para ampliar esses serviços. Políticas iniciais se desenvolvem basicamente em países de alta renda, o que pode refletir a realidade de que muitos lugares de renda baixa e média possuem orçamentos limitados para enfrentar a violência contra a mulher e a violência contra a criança, mesmo quando não haja crise. Onde e como os recursos devem ser empregados? Enquanto os casos reportados e os números fornecidos pelos serviços existentes nos proporcionam um indício do que possa estar ocorrendo, eles também nos passam um quadro imperfeito. Por exemplo, em alguns lugares, chamadas para linhas telefônicas de ajuda à violência doméstica diminuíram, possivelmente por que as sobreviventes estão próximas dos agressores em quarentena e não podem buscar ajuda de maneira segura. Em outros, a procura por abrigos diminuiu, possivelmente porque as sobreviventes têm medo de contrair a COVID-19 devido à dificuldade de manter distanciamento físico dentro dos abrigos. Além disso, alguns sistemas de detecção de rotina estão parados, como os professores e os assistentes sociais. Nos Estados Unidos, vários estados já reportaram reduções no abuso e maus-tratos infantis, provavelmente devido à redução na detecção, e não na ocorrência. Ademais, o aumento do uso de telefones e computadores para se comunicar no lugar das interações pessoais, também apresenta outros meios para a perpetração de novas formas de violência on-line, incluindo assédio, exploração e abuso sexuais. Os esforços de mitigação devem tratar das diversas formas de violência conectadas à COVID-19. As medidas tomadas devem ser continuamente monitoradas para garantir que alcancem os efeitos pretendidos, e não resultar em danos indesejados. “Para muitas mulheres e meninas, a ameaça é maior onde elas deveriam estar mais seguras. Em suas próprias casas.”  Enquanto o Secretário-Geral das Nações Unidas urgentemente clama pela paz nas casas ao redor do mundo, nós esperamos que essa lista não exaustiva de respostas governamentais forneça inspiração para outras ações. Quando se trata de prevenir e reduzir a violência e apoiar sobreviventes, todos temos um papel a desempenhar, particularmente nesses tempos sem precedentes.   Alessandra Guedes é Gerente de Pesquisas de Gênero e Desenvolvimento na UNICEF Innocenti. Amber Peterman é Especialista em Políticas Sociais junto à Unicef Innocenti e à Universidade da Carolina do Norte em Chapel Hill. Dina Deligiorgis é Especialista em Políticas para acabar com a violência contra as mulheres na ONU Mulheres. Agradecemos a Patricia Salomão do Centro de Referência de Apoio à Mulher Vítima de Violência (CRAM) da Secretaria da Mulher em Barueri (SP – Brasil) e Marcia Salomão por traduzirem este blog da sua versão original em inglês.

Journal articles

The time is now! Preventing violence against women and children requires quality evidence.
Journal Article

The Co-Occurrence of Intimate Partner Violence and Violence Against Children: A Systematic Review on Associated Factors in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

The time is now! Preventing violence against women and children requires quality evidence.
Journal Article

Singularity and Diversity in Child, Early, and Forced Marriage and Unions

The time is now! Preventing violence against women and children requires quality evidence.
Journal Article

Intimate partner violence in the Americas: a systematic review and reanalysis of national prevalence estimates

The time is now! Preventing violence against women and children requires quality evidence.
Journal Article

Modelling the Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Violent Discipline Against Children

Events

Intersections between Violence Against Children and Women - Prevention and Response
Event

Intersections between Violence Against Children and Women - Prevention and Response

The second event in the 2021 Solutions Summit Series Together to #ENDviolence series aims to share evidence and foster discussion on intersections between violence against women and violence against children, highlighting synergies opportunities for greater collaboration and opportunities for moving towards implementation to build knowledge and translate it into policy and programs.  
Gender dimensions of violence against children and adolescents
Event

Gender dimensions of violence against children and adolescents

The Child Protection and Gender sections at NYHQ and the Office of Research – Innocenti organized an internal webinar on UNICEF’s Strategy Paper on the Gender Dimensions of Violence against Children and Adolescents in which over 200 UNICEF colleagues from regional and country levels participated. The webinar aimed to help participants learn more about the strategy paper and provided an opportunity to share ideas and recommendations for the implementation of priority actions in this area.
The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action 2020 Annual Meeting
Event

The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action 2020 Annual Meeting

The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action is holding the 2020 Annual Meeting on Child Protection in Humanitarian Action with the theme of Infectious Disease Outbreaks and the Protection of Children. 
Promoting an understanding of the intersection between violence against women and children
Event

Promoting an understanding of the intersection between violence against women and children

Alessandra Guedes discusses the intersection between violence against women and children.