Message by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
November 25, 2020
Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s both a day of solidarity, and a time to raise awareness.
Around the world, nearly one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by intimate partners. As countries have implemented stay-at-home orders and other measures to prevent [the] transmission of COVID-19, reports from women experiencing violence at home have increased. At the same time, services for survivors have been disrupted.
Violence against women is never acceptable. WHO stands in solidarity with women who have experienced violence. And we are working with countries to ensure women can access the support and services they need.
I call on all countries to include health care for women affected by violence as an essential service that must be maintained and made accessible during the pandemic, including additional resources for women with disabilities.
Beyond the pandemic, we must devote more resources to training health professionals on how to identify women who are experiencing abuse and how to provide first-line support. WHO is committed to addressing violence against women. All women have the right to a life free of violence and coercion.
Working together, we can build gender-responsive health and social-protection systems to keep all women safer and healthier.
I thank you.