NATIONAL NEWS - As the country gears up for 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has called for action demonstrating that gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) has no space in society.
Zulu made the call during the final leg of Mzansi ACT Now Walk against GBVF in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Minister participated in the walk with the aim to draw attention to the unacceptably high levels of GBVF and to highlight government’s programmes to prevent, reduce and empower survivors.
The 10-day walk, which started on 1 November in Heidelberg, Gauteng, ended on 10 November 2020 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Speaking after the final walk, Zulu called on individuals to address attitudes and beliefs that support GBV like violence and patriarchal norms; the impact of adverse childhood experiences on both perpetrators and victims; substance addiction and individual’s relationship with peers.
Zulu called on individuals to intervene to address impulsive and antisocial behaviours, and ensure the family environment is emotionally supportive to individuals.
“As a society, we must address inequalities based on gender, race and sexual orientation; address harmful religious and cultural beliefs and practices, and introduce empowering economic and social policies,” Zulu said.
She said the Department of Social Development will continue to support all people that stands up to fight against GBVF.
“Government as a whole, in particular the department, has a mandate of ensuring the protection of all vulnerability groups by creating an enabling environment for the provision of a comprehensive, integrated and sustainable social development service.”
National Strategy Plan
Through President Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African government has approved the National Strategy Plan to intensifying efforts in the fight against GBV.
The department was instrumental in the development of the strategy, and is leading in pillar four of the strategy, which includes response, care, support and healing.
Pillar four seeks to ensure that every survivor of GBV has access to appropriate and sensitive response, care and support that facilitates immediate containment, and medium to long-term healing.
It also recognises that effective response, care and support is integral to healing and comprehensively working towards eradicating GBV in South Africa.
“We are reforming legislation through amendments of various pieces of legislations that will ensure that our laws are tighten to curb GBV and femicide. We have presented to Cabinet a Victim Support Services Bill that has gone for public comments and it is meant to ensure a victim-centred approach in the criminal justice system,” Zulu said.
She said the department recognises the importance of speedy response in cases of GBV, “hence all survivors and victims should be able to access care and support services to reduce the impact of GBV, 24 hours a day and seven days a week”.
GBV command centre
Meanwhile, Zulu reiterated the call for South Africans to use the GBV Command Centre (GBVCC), which offers immediate response and psychosocial support services to victims.
The GBVCC call centre operates 24 hours/7 days, and the services are manned by qualified social workers, who are responsible for call taking and call referrals.
The centre has an emergency line - 0800 428 428 - and is supported by a “Please call me” facility: *120*7867#, a Skype Line to assist the deaf community (add ‘Helpme GBV’ to your Skype Contacts) and an SMS Based Line (SMS ‘Help’ to 31531). – SAnews.gov.za