The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) is calling on government to act to stem the rise in Gender Based Violence in South Africa. It urges the state to urgently commission a national GBV baseline study to determine the nature and extent of GBV experienced across the country.
Reliable and up-to-date information about the levels and extent of GBV in South Africa is critical, because implementing strategies that are not informed by research or that lack comprehensive monitoring and evaluation frameworks will of limited benefit.
As part of the 16 Days of Activism against domestic violence, this year's campaign which starts on November 25 takes place under the theme entitled "Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward ".
Domestic violence, physical violence, emotional violence, economic violence, sexual violence and femicide are some of the forms Gender Based Violence (GBV) reviewed by a CSVR study titled Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa: A Brief Review.
South Africa has a range of laws that deal with the issues of violence against women such as the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 and the Sexual Offences Act of 2007.
However, these laws are undermined by ineffective implementation, insufficient funding for most programmes aimed at preventing GBV, as well as limited monitoring and evaluation of the impact of these programmes.
"Government needs to close the gap between policy and practice if we are to eradicate gender based violence," said Nonhlanhla Sibanda Gender Specialist at CSVR.
"The state's failure to implement GBV-related policies and legislation serves to perpetuate the high levels of gender based violence in communities," she added.
The study provides an overview of GBV in the country, while reflecting on government and non-governmental responses to GBV over the past years. It also emphasizes the critical need for community led solutions and strategies, underscoring the need to work with local authorities as well as traditional and religious leaders.
"GBV prevention requires attitudinal and behavioral changes, as well as grassroots community involvement in decision-making processes," said Sibanda.
"Therefore, there is need for an increase in collaborative efforts within communities to ensure that different players provide mutual support to one another in efforts to prevent GBV," added Sibanda.