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ID: HR23-445
Presenting author: Svitlana Moroz

Rapid response to discrimination and violance against women who use drugs in EECA countries during COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns

Viktoriia Kalyniuk, Svitlana Moroz
REAct tool for human rights violations monitoring was launched in the EECA region in pre-COVID times (end of 2019). Despite the global pandemic, we continued our work, and registered 700+ appeals from women who use drugs (WWUD) in 6 countries of the EECA region. As REAct is online, we quickly switched to remote work and distant client consulting.

To do so we made several interventions:
- established a crisis hotline for WWUD who suffer from domestic violence during the lockdown, that enables quick and remote consultations and support to women locked with am abuser
- distributed business cards with crisis hotline phone numbers together with harm reduction and preventions items, that were sent to clients by mail to avoid face-to-face contacting
- did numerous informational publications and consulting of clients online in social media

Here are the main findings, we recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic period:
- police checkpoints at the city entrances were barriers for OAT patients from rural areas to access treatment. Women were even more affected by lockdowns, as they were mainly left at home with children missing daily treatment
- prolongated methadone distribution (for 5 days) showed its efficiency during the crisis period and lockdown
- harm reduction items postal delivery can be successfully combined with the distribution of educative and informational materials.
- COVID-19 pandemic provoked a considerable decrease in PWUD income, especially among women, who were the first to lose their jobs. Food packages are very needed.
- domestic violence happened more often during curfews, which requires immediate and remote legal consulting to the victim and support during an appeal to the police
- request for shelter for WWUD and suffering domestic violence is not covered and needs to be sustainable

More data and statistics can be provided on each of the statement.