Violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic: An integrative review

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2020 Nov;151(2):180-187. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.13365. Epub 2020 Sep 23.


Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, incipient data have revealed an increase in violence against women (VAW).

Objective: To analyze the existing scientific literature on strategies and recommendations to respond to VAW during the implementation of social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Search strategy: An integrative review was conducted based on articles published between December 2019 and June 2020. Suitable articles were identified from the PubMed, SciELO, and LILACS databases, using relevant terms.

Selection criteria: Eligible studies included opinion and primary research articles describing the dynamics of VAW during quarantine and in the context of the restrictive measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic and proposing recommendations to respond to this issue.

Data collection and analysis: Data were extracted from eligible publications and qualitative synthesis was used.

Main results: The 38 articles included in the study showed that some factors increasing women's vulnerabilities to violence were exacerbated during the social distancing and lockdown period. Health professionals are essential for screening and responding to VAW during the pandemic.

Conclusions: Strategies must include integrated actions aiming to prevent and respond to violence during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. These must be designed based on lessons learned from previous public health emergencies.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Intimate partner violence; Social distancing; Violence against women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women / psychology
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / prevention & control*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / psychology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Isolation / psychology*
  • Women's Health*