Aid groups fear the economic impact of the new coronavirus could unravel years of progress.(Supplied: Plan International Australia)ShareFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsAppPrint contentPrint with images and other mediaPrint text onlyPrintCancelLockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a devastating rise in violence against women and children in Asia, according to a new report. Key points:Economic pressure can lead to a rise in child marriageThe Philippines reported an increase in online child sex abuseExperts say violence against women can be hard to measure The 'Because We Matter' report, released today by Plan International Australia and Save the Children, shows a disturbing increase in online abuse, highlighting that children were more exposed to cyberbullying, harmful content and sexual exploitation during lockdowns.Aid groups fear the economic impact of the new coronavirus could also lead to an increase in child exploitation and child marriage, unravelling years of progress."Violence against children, and girls in particular, has long been a silent emergency that is now threatening to escalate dramatically," the report reads. Coronavirus latest: Follow all the latest information in our COVID-19 live blog.The number of online sex abuse perpetrated against children in the Philippines more than tripled during the pandemic, according to the Department of Justice. FGM in lockdownIn Somalia, cutters are knocking on doors offering the harmful practice. But in Australia, it's the chilling silence that has anti-FGM campaigners worried.Read moreBetween the start of March and the end of May, some 279,166 online child sex abuse cases were recorded, compared to 76,561 in the same time period the year before.In Thailand, recorded cases of domestic violence almost doubled between February and April, according to government figures. "During this pandemic, I have received many complaints from girls, boys, and young people about their struggles at home such as stress, exploitation, domestic violence, and child marriage," Suci, the chairperson of Kediri Village Child Protection Group in Indonesia, told report authors. "The inequality that we've been fighting against all these years resurfaced."Isolation compounded by lockdownsKristin?Diemer is a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne who has worked on the kNOwVAWdata initiative to measure the prevalence of gender-based violence in Asia and the Pacific. Dr Diemer said people living in remote villages in countries such as Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines had their isolation compounded by the pandemic. "Then when you have a lockdown in the country, they have nothing left. There's no way that they can escape," she said. "And so you take away maybe the one avenue of safety." The economic fallout from the pandemic has aid groups worried child marriage could rise in countries like Bangladesh.(Save the Children: Tom Merilion)She told the ABC violence against women during the pandemic was difficult to measure,
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