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GBVF Committee recommends raft of response interventions

The committee comprises a range of government departments and entities, civil society organisations focused on GBVF, research institutions, development agencies, and other organisations.


GBVF Committee recommends raft of response interventions
The criminal justice system and social partners in this sector will also be geared to deal more effectively with cases where abuse and violence are reported and where support is required for victims and survivors.  Image Credit: Flickr

The Interim Steering Committee on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) has recommended a raft of emergency response interventions to the country's gender-based violence and femicide crisis.

Among others, these include the clearing of backlogs at forensic laboratories related to GBVF and especially sexual assault as well as the hiring of additional staff for sexual offenses courts, Thuthuzela Care Centres and Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigations Units.

The committee comprises a range of government departments and entities, civil society organisations focused on GBVF, research institutions, development agencies, and other organisations.

The committee said it had met in Pretoria on 26 and 27 September 2019 to finalize the National Strategic Plan developed after the Presidential GBVF Summit of November. The committee also met to incorporate the resolutions of the summit into the Emergency Response Action Plan on GBVF that will inform the work of government and civil society in the next six months. The committee met again on 17 October 2019 to unpack the approach to deliver on the Emergency Response Action Plan using the Rapid Results Institute methodology.

"The 2018 summit brought together delegates of more than 400 organisations who committed themselves to decisive and collective action to end gender-based violence in the country," the statement reads.

More recently, in the wake of a countrywide spate of incidents of gender-based violence, President Ramaphosa responded to protests against the violence and convened a Joint Sitting of Parliament to allow elected public officials to deliberate on measures to end this national scourge.

The President announced that the Interim Steering Committee would lead in the implementation of an emergency response to gender-based violence.

The Pretoria meeting discussed arrangements for the implementation of a range of actions in the coming six months, enabled by a budget of R1.1 billion allocated by the government.

Among the actions agreed are:

The clearing of backlogs at forensic laboratories related to GBVF and especially sexual assault;

The hiring of additional staff for sexual offenses courts, Thuthuzela Care Centres and Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigations Units;

The procurement of evidence-collection kits (pediatric rape kits, adult rape kits, and buccal sample kits);

Behavior-change interventions to influence changed behavior for men and boys, while involving all sectors of society;

The establishment of at least one shelter per province to accommodate people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex or queer;

The immediate roll-out of training on victim-centric, survivor-focused services, with a specific drive to train police, prosecutors, magistrates and policy-makers; and

The establishment of a GBVF Fund for rapid response to assist survivors at the community level, including access to justice through Legal Aid.

The steering committee will involve all sectors of society in the implementation of the Emergency Response Action Plan to ensure that individuals take responsibility for their behavior and that organisations and institutions of civil society and government undertake programs to prevent abuse of and violence against women and children.

The criminal justice system and social partners in this sector will also be geared to deal more effectively with cases where abuse and violence are reported and where support is required for victims and survivors.

(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)


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