FIFA and the World Health Organization have teamed up to raise awareness about domestic violence and support those at risk, during the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. The campaign kicks off during today’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and will run until Human Rights Day on Friday 10 December.
“Violence is never the answer, especially at home, which should be a safe environment for everyone, and particularly for women and children,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “It is FIFA’s statutory obligation to respect all internationally recognised human rights and as an organisation, FIFA shall strive to promote the protection of these rights. The #SafeHome campaign is now in its second year, and FIFA will continue to make football’s voice heard to amplify this message until these acts are no longer part of our society.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many health challenges and inequities, including violence against women,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We all must come together to end all forms of violence and discrimination. WHO is pleased to team up with FIFA and football stars around the world to help prevent violence against women, and children, support survivors, and make our societies safer and healthier for all.”
Violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive and starts alarmingly young, according to data from WHO. Across their lifetime, one in three women aged 15 and over, around 736 million, are subjected to physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner – a number that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade.
This violence starts early: one in four young women (aged 15-24 years) who have been in a relationship will have already experienced violence by an intimate partner by the time they reach their mid-twenties. Data suggests women’s exposure to violence has likely increased during the COVID-19 pandemic due to lockdowns and disruptions to vital support services.
Violence – in all its forms – can have an impact on a person’s health and well-being throughout their life. It is associated with increased risk of injuries, depression, anxiety disorders, unplanned pregnancies, sexually-transmitted infections including HIV and many other health problems, and comes with tremendous costs to households, communities and societies as a whole.
The five-part #SafeHome video campaign, which supports the WHO’s message to end violence against women and children, is being published in seven languages during the next 16 days. The campaign raises awareness of the risks and highlights actions that can be taken to prevent and mitigate these risks through survivor advice and support. There is also content that addresses perpetrator risk and calls for additional governmental effort to support those who are in a vulnerable situation. #SafeHome passes messages from 23 past and present footballers, many of whom have previously voiced their condemnation of violence against women and children: Emmanuel Amuneke (NGA), Álvaro Arbeloa (ESP), Rosana Augusto (BRA) , Vítor Baía (POR), Diego Benaglio (SUI), Sarah Essam (EGY) , Khalilou Fadiga (SEN), Matthias Ginter (GER), David James (ENG) , Annike Krahn (GER), Rabah Madjer (ALG), Marco Materazzi (ITA) , Milagros Menéndez (ARG), Lúcia Moçambique (MOZ), Geremi Njitap (CMR) , Asisat Oshoala (NGA), Noemi Pascotto (ITA), Graham Potter (ENG) , Mikaël Silvestre (FRA), Kelly Smith (ENG), Óliver Torres (ESP) , Clémentine Touré (CIV) and Abel Xavier (POR). These players will publish their #SafeHome contribution on their channels, while the campaign will also feature on various FIFA and WHO digital platforms. Graphical toolkits are also being provided to the 211 FIFA member associations to further amplify messages in their territories. “Once again, we call upon FIFA member associations to pro-actively publish details of national or local helplines and support services that can help anyone who feels threatened by violence,” added the FIFA President. “In this regard, 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 community. This is what FIFA stands for, and it is what all of football has to stand for.” The World Health Organization (WHO) and FIFA signed a four-year collaboration in 2019 to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally. More information on the WHO-FIFA memorandum of understanding can be found here, while previous campaigns include #ReachOut prior to World Mental Health Day, Pass the message to kick out coronavirus and #BeActive on the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.