Very few women report cases of domestic violence to the police despite an estimate of more than 900 impacted by violence every year in Palau, according to the Asian Development Bank ( ADB).

Ninebeth Carandang, ADB Senior Social Development Specialist in an email  said since COVID-19, ‚Äúthere have been anecdotal reports of increased domestic violence, and the number of cases reported to the police rose by more than 200% from March 2020 to July 2020

Ms. Carandang also said that estimate of gender-based violence (GBV) in Palau showed that out of 6,503 women, 520 experience domestic violence, with intimate partners as reported abusers while 384 experienced violence perpetrated by a non-partner in their lifetime.

But only an average of 90 cases of domestic violence is reported to the police or judicial authorities.

Last week, ADB and Palau signed a $3.7 million grant agreement for a project that aims to address the needs of poor and vulnerable groups in Palau affected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

According to ADB, the project aims to address two priority gaps in the current response to family and GBV, which are at risk of worsening due to the pandemic.

The project identified two gaps, the lack of integrated case management support to help survivors navigate the legal, health, and social service systems; and a  lack of sustained prevention-oriented communications. 

Ms. Carandang said the project will address the gaps by delivering integrated case management support for survivors, including a free 24-hour hotline, crisis counseling, and multisectoral referral pathways.

The project will also implement a social marketing campaign that helps change community social norms on GBV.

Included in the project is the training of  1,400 frontline workers to handle gender-based violence referral pathways.

The project will also cove a gender-based prevention campaign covering at least 12,000 people. ( B. Carreon) 

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