Natural disasters and pandemics bring new risks and dangers to women and their children. In particular, various factors stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as economic instability, additional stress and increased control over victims led to an increase in both prevalence and severity of intimate partner violence. Based on the findings of a study conducted by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), this article examines the main challenges during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis (March–September 2020) and analyses institutional responses to facilitate access to support services for victims. Relying on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, the study highlights the role of European Union (EU) Member States in improving long-term responses to gender-based violence in times of crises. The study also gives particular attention to emerging promising practices and holistic approaches towards the gender-based violence crisis stemming from the pandemic, describing selected examples of initiatives adopted across the EU and identifying main areas of improvement.