Safe from the Start ActEncourage your Member of Congress to support the Safe from the Start Act, introduced in both the House and the Senate. For more information about each bill, review this one-pager.
Armed conflict, natural disasters and climate change often have the greatestimpact on the poorest countries, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable, including women and girls. Global estimates indicate that nearly 70 million people are currently displaced around the world, and we areexperiencing the largest refugee crisis in recorded history. On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted women and girls worldwide, putting those who are displaced at unique risk of harm. Conditions in refugee camps and other displacement settings often exposewomen and girls to greater security risks due to issues such as inadequate lighting, lack of gender-appropriate sanitation facilities, and needing to travel long distances to access firewood, water or other basic commodities. Sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian personnel has also become a well-recognized concern, prompting action by the international community. COVID-19 has exacerbated these GBV protection risks, particularly as already stretched humanitarian resources are spent on stemming the health crisis. An estimated 31 million additional cases of GBV could occur in six months ofthe COVID-19 lockdown and another 15 million more for each additional threemonths. Despite the acute impacts that emergencies have on women and girls, they are often excluded from leadership and decision-making roles when it comes to humanitarian response. Without their voices included in the design and implementation of humanitarian programs, the United States and others that generously provide humanitarian relief risk ignoring or exacerbating theneeds of women and girls in our response efforts.
Safe from the Start is an existing program implemented by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) toprevent gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian emergencies and protectsurvivors or those at risk. This program supports necessary training, toolkits, personnel, and accountability measures to improve the ability of those whowork in emergencies to adequately prevent and respond to GBV from the onset of the crisis. These types of programs are critically needed: nearly 1 in 5 womenreport experiencing sexual violence during a humanitarian emergency and therisks of domestic/intimate partner violence, child marriage, and human trafficking all increase during crises.Despite this, only .12% of allhumanitarian funding goes to address GBV.
This bill will ensure:
- Humanitarian response organizations are better equipped to prevent GBV and supportsurvivors through training, guidelines, and the deployment of specialized experts to close gaps that make women and girls vulnerable to violence and abuse;
- Efforts are coordinated for greater efficiency and accountability of response andrecovery efforts, and that humanitarian relief activities mitigate GBV risks from the very beginning;
- Girls and women who experience GBV during crises receive appropriate care and that survivors and those vulnerable to GBV have access to empowerment opportunities that will help them recover from or prevent GBV; and
- Local actors, including women's groups and others from the impacted communities, have funding, support, and skills to help provide necessary care and lead efforts within their communities to prevent and respond to GBV.
Encourage your Member of Congress to support the Safe from the Start Act, introduced in both the House and the Senate, or thank them for their support. You can find their sponsorship status and social media handles below.
Take advantage of this digital advocacy toolkit from our partners at CARE to craft effective messages on social media to thank your Member of Congress or encourage them to support the Safe from the Start Act.
DC for CEDAW: Gender Equity CoalitionTell the DC Council that it's time to champion gender equity at home. Join our mailing list to recieve updates about forthcoming sign-on letters and legislative meetings here.
At a time when achieving gender equality will take an estimated 100 years at our pre-COVID rate of progress, we need local solutions that advance women’s equal rights and opportunities now more than ever. COVID-19 has further threatened the physical safety and stability of women and girls; in DC, increasing rates of domestic violence and high unemployment have forced an unprecedented number of women and children into homelessness.
DC for CEDAW is a campaign to adopt the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) into city legislation. Through legislation that requires DC government agencies to report gender analysis data and develop a citywide plan to ensure parity for women and girls in all arenas, we move one step closer to enshrining true equality.
Mayors from San Francisco and Los Angeles reported that these measures “materially improved the lives of women” in their municipalities and “fostered more transparent and accountable governance.”
For more information, view our DC for CEDAW one-pager here. To learn more about the Cities for CEDAW national campaign, click here.
Tell the DC Council that it's time to champion gender equity at home. Join our mailing list to recieve updates about forthcoming sign-on letters and legislative meetings here.