COVID-19 COSAFA AfriCAN: FIFA, WHO launch campaign against domestic violence in wake of COVID-19

FIFA have teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission to create the #SafeHome campaign, whose aim is to support women and children at risk of domestic violence.

One of the devastating impacts of the lockdowns in countries all over the world has been a spike in domestic violence against both women and children, and the three organisations are hoping to create awareness against the scourge.

“Almost one in three women worldwide experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by someone else in their lifetime,” a statement said. “In a majority of cases, that violence is committed by a partner in their home – indeed, up to 38% of all murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.

“It is also estimated that one billion children aged between two and 17 years (or half the world’s children) have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year.

“There are many reasons why people perpetrate domestic violence, including gender inequality and social norms that condone violence, childhood experiences of abuse or exposure to violence and coercive control growing up.

“Harmful use of alcohol can also trigger violence. Stressful situations, such as those being experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic instability, exacerbate the risk.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino says they will use the power of football to help fight the cause.

“Together with the World Health Organization and the European Commission, we are asking the football community to raise awareness to this intolerable situation that threatens particularly women and children in their own home, a place where they should feel happy, safe and secure,” he said.

“We cannot stay silent on this issue that negatively affects so many people. Violence has no place in homes, just as it has no place in sports. Football has the power to relay important social messages, and through the #SafeHome campaign, we want to ensure that those people experiencing violence have access to the necessary support services they need.

“We call upon our member associations to actively publish details of national or local helplines and support services that can help victims and anyone feeling threatened by violence in their locality.

“We also call upon our members to review their own safeguarding measures using the FIFA Guardians toolkit to ensure that football is fun and safe for everyone in our game, especially the youngest members of the football family.”