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UNFPA supported hotline for sexual and gender-based violence launched

A toll-free national hotline for sexual and gender-based violence which was established through the partnership of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) and Ethio Telecom was launched today. The initiative is supported by UNFPA, the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency, with funding from the Government of Canada.

The national hotline for sexual and gender-based violence was launched as part of the month long commemoration of the International Women’s Day spearheaded by the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth to advocate for gender equality and women empowerment prioritizing the issue of violence against women and girls.  

UNFPA supported the establishment of the national hotline through EWLA as part of the COVID-19 response to mitigate the increasing risks and incidences of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. Speaking on the occasion, Dennia Gayle, UNFPA Country Representative said the pandemic increased the risks and incidences of gender-based violence against women and girls threatening to reverse the progress made to eliminate GBV and harmful practices.

The initiative is expected to provide vital support, information and advice to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence through offering counselling and referrals to existing appropriate services across the country. The national hotline has a toll free number of 7711 and the services will be given in the Amharic, Afan Oromo and Tigrigna languages.

As one of its three transformative results contributing to the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals, UNFPA is supporting programmatic interventions on ending gender-based violence and eliminating harmful practices in both development and humanitarian contexts.

UNFPA is currently supporting a five-year programme entitled “Preventing and Responding to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, including HTPs, and Rehabilitations of survivors” funded by the Government of Canada which is being implemented across selected districts in all regions in Ethiopia. The Programme has been building the capacity of civil society organizations and women-led organisations including the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association to identify and provide free legal aid and court representation services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. The programme has also been building the capacities of law enforcement bodies.