The COVID-19 outbreak increased the risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) around the world.1 This trend was more evident in countries where strict lockdowns have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus such as Lebanon. In the frst quarter GBVIMS report,2 Lebanon indicated a 4% increase of intimate partner violence compared to the same time period in 2019 and an 8% decrease in reporting in March 2020 compared to January 2020.3 This discrepancy between the increase of a certain type of SGBV and the decrease of an overall reporting sheds light on the very challenges that survivors are facing in the COVID-19 situation. During lockdown, tensions can easily mount within the household as families are confned to their homes and the dire economic situation of many families causes more stress and anxiety, leading to the increase of the risk of violence.
At the same time, women and girls experience diffculties in reporting SGBV incidents or accessing SGBV services due to movement restrictions, limited access to communication devices, lack of privacy, or the presence of perpetrators within the same household.
SGBV actors in Lebanon, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, have remained vigilant to monitor and to respond to such increasing risks of SGBV. In order to ensure that SGBV services remain available for women and girls during lockdown, the SGBV Taskforce quickly adapted its working modalities to remote services, while making sure that urgent cases are followed up in person. This Inter-Agency SGBV Taskforce impact assessment was introduced to further these existing lifesaving efforts and to identify gaps and challenges that could be addressed by sectors.
Three main areas below were addressed during the assessment to document the magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls:
Women and girls’ perceptions of the pandemic and the risks of SGBV during lockdown;
The extent of the challenges faced by women and girls in accessing SGBV services; and
The accessibility of key non-SGBV services during lockdown such as food, health care, hygiene items, livelihoods, and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services, and the challenges faced by women and girls.
The analysis of this assessment was triangulated with other secondary data sources, such as GBVIMS trend reports, needs assessments, and outcomes of protection monitoring to have a holistic understanding of the situation.