Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery has said the battle to end gender-based violence and femicide is a battle the government can fight, but not alone.
He was speaking at a commemoration of 16 days of activism for the campaign against violence against women and children in KwaMashu, KwaZulu Natal, on Monday.
“We cannot rely solely on legislation to try to combat and prevent GBV – communities, civil society and religious institutions all have a role to play. We cannot fight GBV without the help of our communities, teachers, religious leaders and community activists. Each of us has a role to play in the fight against GBV, ”said the Deputy Minister.
Jeffery pointed out that where government can intervene is through legislation and the courts.
He highlighted some of the measures the government has taken to combat the scourge.
“There are three new pieces of legislation that significantly strengthen our response to GBV and the protection of GBV survivors. We have sexual offenses courts which offer a number of victim support services such as, among others, court preparation services and intermediaries who forward questions and statements received from the court to the victim of a crime. sensitive and age-appropriate way.
“We use closed-door testimony services for children, people with intellectual disabilities and all traumatized victims, regardless of their age,” he said.
Jeffery urged society to join the fight against gender-based violence and femicide by:
- Be an activist against GBV in our homes, communities, work and positions.
- Challenge cultures and practices that perpetuate gender inequalities and lead to the abuse of women and children on a personal and societal level.
- Reject and report abusers – take action and don’t look away.
- Not protecting attackers, report them.
- Challenge and denounce cultural practices that perpetuate gender inequalities.
- Be sensitive and supportive of victims of GBV – share useful information and support causes near you.
- Seek personal help to change harmful behaviors such as alcohol and substance abuse
- Teach children the values of respect and gender equality.
- Protect children from exposure to violence and harmful content on the Internet and social media, including pornography and sexual solicitation.
- Develop policies that prevent and address gender-based violence in your industry, workplace and communities.
- Organize targeted community outreach and dialogues on solutions for a gender-equal society.
COVID-19 and GBVF
Deputy Minister Jeffery said the COVID-19 pandemic was having an effect on the safety of women and children in their homes.
“The impact of COVID on all aspects of our lives has been immense. Every person in this country has been affected … either by having themselves, losing a loved one, suffering the effects of a long Covid, losing their job or income, having to shut down their business or simply struggling, one way or another, to get through their daily lives.
“As we are facing a 4th wave, it’s hard for all of us. And as people struggle to cope, many turn to alcoholism or drug addiction, which in turn leads to more domestic violence and gender-based violence. This is why we have tried to ensure that the courts remain open and that domestic violence protection orders are heard and dealt with at all levels of the lockdown, ”he said.
Victims and survivors of gender-based violence can call the Gender-Based Violence Command Center toll-free 0800 428 428 for assistance.
They can also contact the command center by sending a ‘call me’ to * 120 * 7867 # asking for a social worker to contact them. They can also send the word “help” by SMS to 31531. – SAnews.gov.za
Play your part in the fight against GBVF
SourcePlay your part in the fight against GBVF