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The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) was initially launched in January 1989 under the name of the Project for the Study of Violence. The CSVR has since expanded to become a multi-disciplinary centre, engaging the services of sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, social workers, lawyers, educationalists, historians, etc. - all under one roof. The Centre currently has over 30 full-time employees, and accommodates a number of additional contract workers, interns and volunteers.

The CSVR is a multi-disciplinary institute concerned with policy formation, implementation, service delivery, education and training, as well as providing consultancy services. Although the Centre functions with many different departments as outlined here, its strength lies in being able to harness the different skills and expertise from the different departments into delivering a comprehensive and integrated service to communities, organisations and institutions. The CSVR also offers direct psychosocial support services to individual torture survivors at its offices in Braamfontein.  As such, CSVR is unique in its ability to integrate the fields of violence prevention, peacebuilding and reconciliation, and in its ability to house many different forms of intervention.

The Centre's spheres of expertise relate to a wide range of forms of violence and conflict, including collective and inter-personal, political and criminal, state and social violence. The Centre focuses on violence that is generated during democratisation and looks at conflict which results from the reconstruction and development of impoverished communities.

The CSVR translates its research into policy proposals and prioritises intervention strategies particularly in the spheres of psychosocial support, institutional transformation, and socio-economic development. The Centre also plays a central lobbying and advocacy role.  The CSVR's work is rooted in an analysis of the shifting forms of conflict and violence within societies enduring a transition to democracy.

The CSVR is a South African organisation that has its roots in the South African struggle for peace and justice.  Over the last two decades it has however increasingly become a regionally engaged NGO, that has worked in close collaboration with partners on across the continent and has worked directly with regional and sub-regional processes and institutions in order promote its goals more widely.