Washington, DC—The release of the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality by the White House is an important step toward advancing gender equality both domestically and internationally. KIND is pleased that immigrant communities are explicitly included in the strategy, and that it recognizes gender-based violence and gender inequality as pernicious factors that drive forced migration from Central America and around the world. This national strategy aligns with KIND’s recommendations in its administrative Blueprint released late last year, urging the U.S. government to advance a whole-of-government strategy on gender equality and gender-based violence that includes migrant children.
“Gender-based violence is one of the leading drivers of child migration and will continue without decisive action to prevent this violence and serve survivors,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Existing U.S. policies must do more to create robust, trauma-informed responses to addressing violence affecting unaccompanied children. Currently, many U.S. government officials lack the training and expertise to serve survivors of gender-based violence, including unaccompanied children. KIND is hopeful that this national strategy will help increase understanding of the prevalence and severity of gender-based violence and result in increased resources dedicated to preventing future violence and effectively serving survivors.”
The White House noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has “exacerbated a ‘shadow pandemic’ of gender-based violence in the United States and around the world.” This is consistent with KIND’s own findings, documented in a forthcoming report which describes increasing rates of gender-based violence in Central America during the pandemic and offers policy recommendations to address this troubling trend.
KIND serves many unaccompanied children who are affected by gender-based violence, for example, children who have been subjected to sexual assault, human trafficking, and child marriage. Gender-based violence remains unacknowledged and underreported, impeding children’s ability to find permanency and safety.
“Unaccompanied children will be better protected and served with the national strategy plan’s priority to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. KIND remains committed to addressing gender-based violence in Central America and providing trauma-informed services to our child clients. We look forward to working with the administration and U.S. government agencies to implement the strategy and elevate considerations for unaccompanied children and child survivors of gender-based violence and discrimination,” added Young.
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990