The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $440,000 technical assistance (TA) grant to help address and prevent domestic violence amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease pandemic in Mongolia.
“Aside from its severe economic impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on domestic violence in Mongolia,” said ADB Social Development Specialist Veronica Mendizabal Joffre. “With this TA, ADB’s first focusing on increasing access to support services and prevention of domestic violence during a crisis, we aim to maintain critical response mechanisms for domestic violence and enhance preventive action.”
Police records for the capital city of Ulaanbaatar indicated a 63% increase in reported cases of domestic violence, with 3,100 during the first quarter of 2020 compared to 1,900 reported during the first quarter of 2019. Most of these cases included physical violence (77%), about 90% were committed in a household setting, and women constituted 93% of the victims. Reduced mobility during the quarantine period and social distancing measures have resulted in victims of domestic violence having reduced options for support and counseling. It is likely that many have been forced to remain at home with perpetrators.
Mongolia has 14 shelters and 15 one-stop service centers (OSSCs) that provide attention, counseling services, and short-term safe accommodation to victims of domestic violence. All shelters and OSSCs have remained open during the COVID-19 crisis. However, these critical institutions lack all needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to attend to victims in a safe manner. Further, no protocols are in place to reduce exposure of current residents to COVID-19 when new victims are received
The TA will boost the safety of first responders during the pandemic through the procurement of basic PPE, first aid kits, and disinfection items for shelters and one-stop service centers, as well as first responder police units across the country. Three mobile ultrasound units for examination of victims will also be purchased, as well as information technology hardware to enhance digital counseling operations.
The TA will also support the expansion of information technology and digital infrastructure of the National Legal Institute and the nongovernment organization National Center Against Violence (NCAV) to complement existing hotlines and counselling services, such as using chatbots. In light of the increased demand for psychosocial counseling during the COVID-19 crisis, an additional counselor under the NCAV will also be provided for the duration of the TA. Virtual training programs will also be conducted for first responders on emergency response in cases of sexual violence, for shelter operators on stress management and mental health, and training of trainers for police psychologists.
The TA is estimated to cost $440,000 of which $400,000 will be financed on a grant basis from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund. The Government of Mongolia will provide counterpart support. The TA further complements an ongoing grant project on Combating Domestic Violence Against Women and Children, financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction with $3 million.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.