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Morocco has restructured the national police force to better support women survivors, like Layla Bennani, and to prevent violence against women.
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Mariam lived with an abusive husband for 17 years before leaving him in 2018 after she sought protection and legal help from KAFA, a Lebanese non-governmental organization and a UN Women partner. With legal services and support, Mariam was able to access justice and regain the strength she thought was lost.
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Gender-based violence Rapid Response Teams in 17 communities, led by local police, and consisting of a Women’s Union Officer and a Justice Officer, Youth Union Officer or Community Leader, deliver timely and coordinated responses and protection for women and girls experiencing violence in their communities.
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While gender-responsive policing is gaining momentum around the world, intersecting forms of bias and discrimination within the justice sector stops many women and girls from receiving the help they need.
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In the past 18 months, by trapping women with their abusers, COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have worsened the already-widespread violence against women while preventing many of them from getting help. But even those who do manage to contact the police come up against another long-standing challenge: a culture and system that treats the survivor as a big part of the problem.
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The Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) has made four recommendations to accelerate progress to eliminate violence against women and girls. Find out how Spotlight Initiative is responding to these rallying cries below.
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During her official visit to Mozambique from 24-26 May, and in the lead up to the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka meets women leaders, government officials, the donor community and youth activists to promote women’s leadership in the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and invites Mozambique to commit to Generation Equality Action Coalitions.
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Leaving no-one behind in public life and decision-making

women in law and policy
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Jana Kote* and her three children lived with an abusive husband and father for 12 years until they received support from a local organization, Human Rights in Democracy Centre, based in Tirana, the capital of Albania.
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Naiyapak Chaipan works for the 1300 Hotline, managed by the Thai government’s Social Assistance Centre that assists women seeking to leave abusive and violent situations. Ms. Chaipan’s work has doubled as the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions have left many women confined with their abusers at home. Like in many other countries, the hotline has become a critically essential platform to provide information and refer survivors to the support services they require.
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Women’s land rights are key to their economic independence and better decision-making power within families. In many parts of the world, research shows that lack of land rights makes women more vulnerable to gender-based violence. Dhana*, 38, is among the 218 gender-based violence survivors who have received life-saving assistance from the ‘Provision of Emergency Legal Assistance to Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in the COVID-19 Context’ project run by Forum for Women, Law and Development in Nepal.
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In Malawi, thirty-one-year old Alepher Matemba Banda is a nurse responding to a hotline at Chipatala cha pa foni, a national health helpline. Banda was among 40 helpline nurses and technicians who received training in gender-based violence and health, through a UN Women initiative funded by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office.
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Cecilia Mwende Maundu is a broadcast journalist based in Kenya and a specialist in gender digital safety. She is also the current Secretary General of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television, Kenyan chapter. During COVID-19, women and girls are using the internet more than ever to stay connected with the world, but they are also the targets of online violence in the form of physical threats, sexual harassment, stalking, zoombombing and sex trolling.
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Simret Tesfaye is nurse at the Association for Women's Sanctuary and Development, a non-profit organization in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which manages six shelters for survivors of gender-based violence. Currently, she is working at the Transitional Shelter that opened in April 2020 with support from UN Women.
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“Women’s organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 response continue to adapt and provide vital services for survivors, even in the face of unprecedented challenges. As violence against women rises, the services offered by women’s organizations must be included in governments’ COVID-19 response packages,” said Aldijana Sisic, Chief of the UN Trust Fund.
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Under a new partnership with UN Women, Unilever is supporting over 1,000 smallholder farmers and raising awareness among its 6,000 employees in Tanzania.
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Years of collective mobilization, strategizing and innovation by women’s rights groups culminated in the repeal or reform of archaic laws across the Northern Africa and Western Asia region
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In Thailand, an Artificial Intelligence chat bot offers support to help survivors of sexual violence navigate the justice process.
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Through participatory theatre performances using acting and puppetry, women and men in Lebanon are speaking up to claim their rights, with some going on to become community mobilizers.
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For Ina Grădinaru, a psychologist with a women’s centre in Moldova, her work with survivors of violence is much more than a job, it’s a social responsibility and her life mission. For the #HearMeToo campaign, she talks about her work, the persisting challenges and myths that must be broken to end the violence.