Extreme events and gender-based violence

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Ovenden, Niko 
Van Daalen, Kim 

The intensity and frequency of extreme weather and climate events are expected to increase due to anthropogenic climate change. This systematic review explores extreme events and their impact on gender-based violence (GBV) experienced by women, girls, and sexual and gender minorities (SGM). We searched ten databases until February 2022. Grey literature was searched using key organisation and Google. Quantitative studies were described narratively, whilst qualitative studies underwent thematic analysis. We identified 26,381 records. 41 records were included exploring several extreme events (storms, floods, droughts, heatwaves, wildfires) and GBV forms (e.g., sexual violence and harassment, physical violence, witch-killing, early/forced marriage, emotional violence). Studies were predominantly cross-sectional. Whilst most qualitative studies were of reasonable quality, most quantitative studies were of relatively poor quality. Only one document included SGM. Most studies reported an increase in one or several GBV forms during or after extreme events, often related to economic instability, food insecurity, mental stress, disrupted infrastructure, higher exposure to men, tradition and exacerbated gender inequality. These findings may have important implications for sexual- and gender-transformative interventions, policies and implementation. Higher-quality evidence from large, ethnographically diverse cohorts is essential to explore the impacts and driving factors of GBV during and after extreme events.

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The Lancet Planetary Health
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KvD received funding from the Gates Cambridge Trust (OP114) for her PhD studies.