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During the Covid pandemic of 2020, news broadcasts across the world were soon talking about the pandemic of domestic violence. Couples and families who were kept indoors 24/7 faced increased risks of abuse from which there was no escape.

A global network of Christian leaders, Rise in Strength, was producing daily blogs on the impact of Covid on women. There was strong evidence that women had an extra burden caring for children at home and doing school lessons; they were more likely to be in low-paid, less secure professions in the health sector or hospitality; they were more exposed to Covid infection because they had jobs in caring professions; and they faced an increased risk from abusive partners because lockdowns provided more opportunities for abusers.

As early as April 2020, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was calling for measures to address a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” directed towards women and girls, linked to lockdowns imposed by governments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.”

Christian campaigners like Natalie Collins (in the UK) provided expert advice:

“Some might imagine that the rise in domestic abuse is a result of the stress of lockdown: with financial worries, being cooped up in a house together, stresses about ill relatives, or other virus-related factors leading to violence. That is not the case. The COVID-19 related surge in domestic abuse is about abusers having more opportunity to abuse with no respite.”

— Natalie Collins, Christian Gender Justice Campaigner, UK —

As we urged people to pray for those who were being abused and for the specialist services working tirelessly to get people to safety and encouraged governments to give specialist services much-needed support, we also wanted everyone to be vigilant in public to help those who might be in need.

Amanda Jackson, Director of the Women’s Commission of evangelical churches across the globe (WEA) and the founder of Rise in Strength, gathered a small group of experts at all levels and in many different nations to ask what we could do together to assist survivors and the people trying to provide help.

The women and men quickly realised there was a huge need for a network to offer support and practical advice to exhausted counsellors.

CNEDA was born in August 2020 and all the participants – around twenty from nine nations – immediately said that they needed good Biblical material on healthy relationships.

A booklet, “A Biblical View of Relationships to End Domestic Abuse,” written by women from Africa, Europe, Asia, and Latin America was produced later that year. It is now available in four languages.

They also wanted expert practical advice for contexts ranging from Mali to Malaysia. Quarterly calls help to link women and men to learn from each other and pray for each other.

In 2022, CNEDA began to advocate and educate through an innovative campaign called “A Place for Her” (also called “The Red Chair Project”). Linked to campaigning, CNEDA had a presence at the United Nations in 2023, where we held a parallel event on violence against women.

CNEDA was housed online at women.worldea.org/cneda until 2023, when the secretariat moved to Restored UK.