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UN Secretary-General: Domestic violence on rise during pandemic

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says there has been "a horrifying global surge in domestic violence" in recent weeks as fear of the coronavirus pandemic has grown along with its social and economic consequences.

    The U.N. chief, who appealed on March 23 for an immediate cease-fire in conflicts around the world to tackle COVID-19, said in a statement Sunday night it is now time to appeal for an end to all violence, "everywhere, now."

    Guterres said that "for many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest -- in their own homes."

    "And, so, I make a new appeal today for peace at home -- and in homes -- around the world," he said.

    The secretary-general said in some countries, which he didn't name, "the number of women calling support services has doubled."

    At the same time, he said, health care providers and police are overwhelmed and understaffed, local support groups are paralyzed or short of funds, and some domestic violence shelters are closed while others are full.

    "I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19," Guterres said.

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