The family is the site of extremely violent incidents in South African society—particularly involving women and children. What can the state do?
The fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is being felt not only in the growing number of infections but also in an increase in general anxiety and cases of gender-based violence.
The number of domestic violence cases reported to the South African police between March and April dropped by 69.4%. This figure makes it tempting to believe that in South Africa, unlike many other countries, lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic reduced family and domestic violence. Reliable data is useful but the priority is ensuring survivors have access to high-quality support and services.
Every child has a right to education, best attainable standards of health, and protection from abuse, torture and labour which interfere with the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development. However, Covid-19 has had an adverse effect on the rights and welfare of children in Africa. For many children who now stay at home, other impending risks include harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and being forced into early (child) marriage. Domestic and sexual violence also continue to be a significant concern.
It is the end of women’s month in South Africa, and for me it still feels like being a woman in South Africa is moving from LOVE to DEATH
South African society is becoming more, not less, violent. This was confirmed by the 2017/18 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) yesterday. Violence affects all South Africans, with the greatest impact on people who are black and poor. Young black men have the highest chance of being murdered. But violence against children and women is at the root of this problem. The effects on individuals are long term – children who grow up in violent households are more likely to use or become victims of violence later in life.
The Ulutsha Street Festival 2018 turned out to be an ideal family event on a typical windy winter day in Port Elizabeth. This year’s Festival once again highlighted how public spaces can be transformed into positive spaces for recreation and social interaction. Further, the Festival demonstrated how festivals can be used as both recreational opportunities as well as opportunities to raise awareness on key social issues, such as gender-based violence and violence against children.
To commemorate International Women’s Day, the United Nations Population Fund, in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), hosted a symposium to facilitate a dialogue on the progress made on eliminating and preventing all forms of Violence against Women in South Africa.
Across South Africa there are many organisations working towards preventing the root causes of gender-based violence. The global What Works to Prevent Violence programme currently supports research on a number of South African interventions in this regard. The programme aims to provide evidence on what makes these interventions successful and how they can be replicated, adapted and scaled up.
South Africa takes a front seat when it comes to developing and evaluating programmes that have a proven impact in preventing violence. This was one of the key messages at a seminar by the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria on the 15th of April 2015. The speakers presented research as to how investing in primary prevention of violence, particularly evidence-based parenting and early-childhood interventions, has proven to be effective in reducing and preventing violent behaviour.