Tack­ling gen­der-based vi­o­lence

Help is at hand for sur­vivors of abuse

Public Sector Manager - - Contents: -

Help is just a phone call or text away for vic­tims of abuse, thanks to the De­part­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment's Gen­der-Based Vi­o­lence Com­mand Cen­tre (GBVCC).

As the coun­try ob­serves the 16 Days of Ac­tivism for No Vi­o­lence against Women and Chil­dren cam­paign from 25 Novem­ber to 10 De­cem­ber, So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Bathabile Dlamini has en­cour­aged sur­vivors of abuse to make use of the GBVCC.

The 24-hour call cen­tre as­sists sur­vivors of gen­der­based vi­o­lence (GBV) with sup­port and guid­ance from trained so­cial work­ers.

It was es­tab­lished to deal with vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren and offers a com­pre­hen­sive, in­te­grated sys­tem that pro­vides im­me­di­ate, con­sis­tent, co­or­di­nated and timely sup­port to sur­vivors of GBV.

Its ser­vices are linked to the South African Po­lice Ser­vice, the Emer­gency Man­age­ment Ser­vices and the De­part­ment of Health.

Im­me­di­ate coun­selling

The GBVCC uses mo­bile tech­nol­ogy to es­ti­mate the lo­ca­tion of a caller, as­sign the clos­est so­cial worker in the field to the case, and record and re­ceive con­tin­u­ous feed­back on the case.

Min­is­ter Dlamini said the cen­tre is aimed at making the de­part­ment as re­spon­sive as pos­si­ble.

“Ad­di­tional func­tion­al­ity avail­able to the de­part­ment on a real-time ba­sis in­cludes strate­gic re­port­ing which will high­light trends in spe­cific lo­ca­tions or types of vi­o­lence oc­cur­ring, as well as an in­di­ca­tion of de­mand for so­cial work­ers in a spe­cific district,” said Min­is­ter Dlamini.

The cen­tre has con­trib­uted to gov­ern­ment's in­ter­ven­tions on GBV as a rapid re­sponse mech­a­nism to deal

The GBVCC toll-free num­ber is 0800 428 428. Al­ter­na­tively, the pub­lic can send a Please Call Me to *120*7867#, SMS “Help” to 31531 or

Skype: HelpMeGBV

speed­ily and ef­fec­tively with is­sues wher­ever they arise.

It pro­vides a sin­gle point of en­try for sur­vivors of at­tacks to re­quest emer­gency help, seek ad­vice and re­ceive coun­selling, and ac­cess other so­cial ser­vices pro­grammes.

Ex­pos­ing per­pe­tra­tors of vi­o­lence

Mean­while, Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency re­spon­si­ble for Women, Susan Sha­bangu, has em­pha­sised the need for com­mu­ni­ties to work with the law en­force­ment agen­cies to en­sure that per­pe­tra­tors of vi­o­lence are brought to book.

She was rep­re­sent­ing Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma at the launch of the 16 Days of Ac­tivism for No Vi­o­lence against Women and Chil­dren cam­paign in the East­ern Cape re­cently.

Min­is­ter Sha­bangu said through the cam­paign, gov­ern­ment is rais­ing aware­ness about vi­o­lence di­rected at women and chil­dren and that it must be stopped.

“Women and chil­dren are raped by peo­ple who say they love them and yet they end up vi­o­lat­ing them. We are happy with the launch of the cam­paign be­cause we are go­ing to root out this evil in so­ci­ety,” Min­is­ter Sha­bangu said.

The Min­is­ter said re­cently the coun­try had wit­nessed some of the worst and most shock­ing in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.

Bru­tal and bar­baric acts

“The most bru­tal and bar­baric acts were re­ported such as in­ci­dents where women were killed and their bod­ies were burned and also cases of can­ni­bal­ism in the East­ern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal where body parts of women and chil­dren were eaten.We never thought we could hear of any­thing like that in our life­times,” she said.

Al­most ev­ery day the me­dia re­ports on abuse at home, work and in pub­lic spa­ces, added the Min­is­ter.

“Schools, which used to be safe havens for our learn­ers, have now be­come high-risk ar­eas for our girl chil­dren be­cause of some un­scrupu­lous teach­ers and care­tak­ers, who abuse them sex­u­ally. Many boys have also be­come vic­tims of sex­ual abuse.

“The crime of hu­man traf­fick­ing needs to be high­lighted more in the coun­try as it is a silent crime, where vic­tims dis­ap­pear without trace,” she said.

Women and chil­dren are sub­jected to other non­vi­o­lent but equally harm­ful forms of vi­o­la­tion, such as abu­sive lan­guage and de­pri­va­tion of necessary ma­te­rial sup­port in their homes, the Min­is­ter noted.

From April 2016 to De­cem­ber 2016, 37 000 cases of sex­ual of­fences were re­ported. Out of th­ese cases, 80 per­cent were rape cases.

Min­is­ter Sha­bangu said GBV is es­ti­mated to cost South Africa up to R42 bil­lion per an­num as re­vealed by South African Po­lice Ser­vice sta­tis­tics.

Lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties wel­comed the launch of the 16 Days of Ac­tivism for No Vi­o­lence against Women and Chil­dren cam­paign, say­ing this will en­sure that per­pe­tra­tors of vi­o­lence are brought to book.

Nomkhosi Qindi, a res­i­dent of Mis­sion­vale, said that men who abuse women and chil­dren must be ex­posed and sent to jail for a long time.

An­other res­i­dent Frans du Plessis said gov­ern­ment must en­sure long pe­ri­ods of im­pris­on­ment for abusers as they de­prive their vic­tims of their free­dom to live peace­fully.

“Men who abuse women and chil­dren must be re­moved from our so­ci­ety,” he said.

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