FIFA, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission
have joined forces to launch the #SafeHome campaign to support women
and children at risk of domestic violence. The campaign is a joint
response from the three institutions to the recent spikes in reports of
domestic violence as stay-at-home measures to prevent the spread of
COVID-19 have put women and children experiencing abuse at greater risk.

Almost one in three women worldwide experience physical and/or sexual
violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by someone else in
their lifetime. In a majority of cases, that violence is committed by a
partner in their home – indeed, up to 38% of all murders of women are
committed by an intimate partner. It is also estimated that one billion
children aged between two and seventeen years (or half the world’s
children) have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or
neglect in the past year.

There are many reasons why people perpetrate domestic violence,
including gender inequality and social norms that condone violence,
childhood experiences of abuse or exposure to violence and coercive
control growing up. Harmful use of alcohol can also trigger violence.
Stressful situations, such as those being experienced during the
COVID-19 pandemic and economic instability, exacerbate the risk.
Moreover, the current distancing measures in place in many countries
make it harder for women and children to reach out to family, friends
and health workers who could otherwise provide support and protection.

“Together with the World Health Organization and the European
Commission, we are asking the football community to raise awareness to
this intolerable situation that threatens particularly women and
children in their own home, a place where they should feel happy, safe
and secure,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “We cannot stay
silent on this issue that negatively affects so many people. Violence
has no place in homes, just as it has no place in sports. Football has
the power to relay important social messages, and through the #SafeHome
campaign, we want to ensure that those people experiencing violence have
access to the necessary support services they need.”

“Just as physical, sexual or psychological violence has no place in
football, it has no place in the home,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom
Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “We are
so pleased that our partners today are joining us to draw attention to
this critical issue. As people are isolated at home because of COVID-19,
the risks of domestic violence have tragically been exacerbated.”

“Violence has no place in our societies,” said Mariya Gabriel,
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
“Women’s rights are human rights and should thus be protected. Often
abused women and children are afraid to talk by fear or shame. This
‘window’ to speak-up and seek help is, during confinement, even more
restricted. As a matter of fact domestic violence has seen an increase
since the outbreak of COVID-19. It is our responsibility as a society,
as institutions to speak up for these women. To give them trust and
strength. This is the purpose of this joint campaign which I am honoured
to be part of.”

“We call upon our member associations to actively publish details of
national or local helplines and support services that can help victims
and anyone feeling threatened by violence in their locality,” added the
FIFA President. “We also call upon our members to review their own
safeguarding measures using the FIFA Guardians toolkit to ensure that
football is fun and safe for everyone in our game, especially the
youngest members of the football family.”

The five-part video awareness campaign features 15 past and present footballers – Álvaro Arbeloa, Rosana Augusto, Vítor Baía, Khalilou Fadiga, Matthias Ginter, David James, Annike Krahn, Marco Materazzi, Milagros Menéndez, Noemi Pascotto, Graham Potter, Mikaël Silvestre, Kelly Smith, Óliver Torres and Clémentine Touré – who have stressed their support in addressing this critical issue. The campaign is being published on various FIFA digital channels, with #SafeHome also being supported with multimedia toolkits for the 211 FIFA member associations and for various media agencies to help facilitate additional localisation and to further amplify the message worldwide.


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