Assessing Sexual and Gender Based Violence during the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone
Violence against women is commonplace in Sierra Leone, with the majority of women claiming to have suffered some form of gender-based abuse during their lifetimes. There are many ongoing efforts to address Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) but the problem, which is inherently linked to the status of women in the country, persists. The Ebola outbreak put an unmanageable strain on many of the interventions to curb SGBV by the Government, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Development Partners. Due to disruption in already limited services and the increased social and economic stress that many households have been placed under during the crisis, some actors, especially CSOs, have faced difficulty in dealing with cases. Simultaneously key stakeholders found it difficult to measure the actual numbers of cases due to the lack of availability of services that would usually help to capture data, the difficulty faced by victims in reporting due to emergency regulations such as curfews, restrictions on movement and economic factors exacerbated by the crisis.