To conduct a rapid knowledge synthesis of literature on the social determinants of mental health of racialized women exposed to gender-based violence (GBV) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We adapted the Cochrane Rapid Reviews method and were guided by an equity lens in conducting rapid reviews on public health issues. Four electronic databases (Cochrane CENTRAL, Medline, ProQuest, and EBSCO), electronic news media, Google Scholar, and policy documents were searched for literature between January 2019 and October 2020 with no limitations for location. Fifty-five articles qualified for the review.
Health emergencies heighten gender inequalities in relation to income, employment, job security, and working conditions. Household stress and pandemic-related restrictions (social distancing, closure of services) increase women’s vulnerability to violence. Systemic racism and discrimination intensify health disparities.
Racialized women are experiencing a 2020 Syndemic: a convergence of COVID-19, GBV, and racism pandemics, placing their wellbeing at a disproportionate risk. GBV is a public health issue and gender-responsive COVID-19 programming is essential. Anti-racist and equity-promoting policies to GBV service provision and disaggregated data collection are required.