Egypt saw a total of 116 violent crimes against women and girls during the first half (H1) of 2020, according to the Edraak Foundation for Development and Equality’s latest report.
The report noted that the most common form of violent crime in this time period against women was murder, with a total of 40 homicides. This was followed by suicide cases as a result of domestic violence, with 28 reported during H1 of 2020.
“Most suicide cases and attempts come as a result of consuming poison, which is the most commonly used tool for this,” the report said. “This is because it is easy to obtain, can be bought relatively cheaply, and there is an absence of market control on such materials.”
The report noted that it was the governorates of Nile Delta that reported the highest number of gender-based crimes – or at least the ones that were reported and for which information is publicly available.
In the focus time period, Qaliubiya governorate reported the highest number of gender-based violent crimes, followed by Sharqeya, Cairo, and Sohag governorates, in that order.
Edraak said that 54 violent crimes directed against women and girls were monitored during the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, while 62 crimes were reported during Q2.
“During Q1 of 2020, we noticed an increase in the rate of violence among the 13-18 age group, which is an adolescence period, followed by the 30-45 age group,” Edraak said.
“We find that the concentration of violent crimes in urban areas represents 65% of the crime rate,” it added. “The homicide rate is higher as a result of domestic violence, followed by suicide rates, which is in turn followed by violence in the form of severe beatings that may lead to permanent disability or homicide, which are equal to community violence.”
The segment of the most affected by gender-based violence shifted slightly in Q2 of 2020. The report showed that the rate of violence increased during this time period among the 19-29 age group, with the 13-18 age group coming in second.
“Cairo witnessed the highest rate of violence against women and girls in Q2 of 2020, followed by the Sohag, Qena, and Qaliubiya governorates, in that order, which all reported equal rates of violence for this period,” the report added.
In Q2 of 2020, violent crime was concentrated in urban areas, reflecting 49% of the crimes against women and girls, compared to 48% in rural areas, while the location of the rest 3% was not identified.
These crimes have been linked to the government-imposed lockdowns and closures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), measures that were imposed from March 2020 for a period of three months.
Edraak explained that much of the attention that would normally have been placed on gender-based violence has now being taken up by the global pandemic and its spread in Egypt. With less attention on domestic violence and violence against women and girls, there has been a commensurate rise in the number of violent crimes against this segment of society.