Domestic violence intensified in Yemen due to war and coronavirus

Levels of domestic violence and sexual harassment of women in Yemen are estimated to have increased by 63 percent in the last five years due to the conflict, according Yemeni Women Union.

Recent reports of violence against women since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in Yemen indicate that the levels of violence have risen further, a report published by the London School of Economics said.

The Yemeni Women Union (YWU) continues to record cases of violence against women despite the reduced opportunities women have to report violence or access services due to government restrictions, which is believed to indicate that levels of violence have increases, the report said.

The restrictions of the COVID-19 lockdown and quarantine, together with extreme economic stresses, have led to dramatic jumps in incidences of domestic violence in many countries and Yemen is no exception, Noha Yehya of the YWU said.

Levels of domestic violence and sexual harassment of women in Yemen are estimated to have increased by 63 percent in the last five years due to the conflict, according to the report.

The YWU believes the shifting roles of security forces in imposing COVID-19 restrictions present further risks to women in countries like Yemen where there are “few curbs on power and widespread impunity.”

Amid the attempt by the government to contain the spread of the virus, YWU warned that services to prevent violence and support survivors have reduced.

The demands of the coronavirus response have already led to a diversion of funding away from services for women and girls, according to the report.

The United Nations agency for sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, estimates that without adequate funding, 48,000 women could die due to a lack of sexual and reproductive health services.