On 25 November 2014, a global research and innovation programme to help prevent violence against women and girls was launched in South Africa by the UK International Development Minister, Baroness Northover.
In a series of coordinated actions, thousands of South Africans took to the streets in late November to demand action from a government that has not prioritized the rape, battery and assault of thousands of its citizens each year. Civil society challenged government to live up to its promises to develop and fully fund a National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
“In South Africa, over half of our children have experienced some form of violence from an early age. This has a long-lasting, negative impact on future generations”, says Shanaaz Mathews, director of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town. “The good news is that this violence can be prevented. This requires a shift in our approach to the problem. Currently efforts focus on responding to incidents of violence. But it is more effective to invest in programmes that prevent violence and protect our children before they get hurt.”
“It is time we realise the need for social workers and teachers to do the ground work with children as young as three to prevent crime, instead of battling to combat it when it’s too late.” This is according to Gareth Newham, Head of the Governance, Crime and Justice division at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria.
Cities are centres of economic growth and innovation across the world. People are increasingly drawn to these urban hubs; often in the hope of finding a better job and affording a better life for themselves and their families.
After months of intensive work and preparations, SaferSpaces has finally gone live. SaferSpaces is an interactive platform run by and for safety practitioners in South Africa to connect, share knowledge and learn from each other.