As Covid-19 created global impact on virtually every single and thinkable aspect of life, so has the lockdown and its effects also triggered an increase in gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa. Prior the national lockdown, GBV has been a major challenge and we have seen drastic increases in GBV cases including femicide, rape, harassment and abuse. All this despite the campaigns and interventions by government and civil society organisations.
As much as research conducted by the South African Human Rights Commission and Statistics South Africa shows that high percentages of women have experienced physical violence by a partner or sexual assault, these figures have been carped as being highly inaccurate as a large number of GBV cases go unreported. With the signing of relevant bills and regulations for new stringent action from government for GBV offences, including law enforcement which has also faced heavy criticism on its failures to protect women and children against this dreadful scourge, education and awareness of what GBV actually is and getting victims to report remains a potential gap in the system.
In light of the aforesaid and consistent cases around women and children abuse, Mogale City Social Development Division is doing an educational and awareness campaign at the shelters they are involved with and individual clients. That not only aims to inspire victims to report GBV but also understand its various forms, de-stigmatizing, facilitate the setting up of structures in our communities and in consultation with stakeholders develop tangible programmes to eradicate GBV as part of 365 Days campaigns.
As we now commemorate Women’s Month and National Women’s Day on Monday, 9 August 2020, Mogale Social Development aims to create heightened awareness on:
- All forms of GBV
- It’s root causes
- How GBV is exacerbated, and also
- Where victims or anyone aware of it can report or seek help
All this will be guided by an array of legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) (1998), Sexual Offences Act (2007) and the Prevention, Combatting of Trafficking in Human Persons (2013) Act and aligned to the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, Pillar 2: Prevention and Rebuilding Social Cohesion, our Social Workers in all areas of Mogale City in partnership with other stakeholders will be at work in ensuring this educational and awareness campaign does gain traction in and around our city.
In setting the wheels in motion, members of the public are also immediately made aware of the various structures that can assist with any GBV-related matters.
Contacts for Help:
Mogale City Local Municipality
Community Development Services: Social Development Division
Tel: 011 951 2375
Department of Social Development
Tel: 011 951 7700
Tel: 0800 10111
Tel: 011 665 2218
Teddy Bear Clinic
Tel: 011 660 3077
Mogale City Social Development