Calls to better efforts to prevent gender based violence

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pretoria - As the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign reaches its half way mark, government is calling on all stakeholders to intensify efforts to prevent gender-based violence and child abuse.

In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, said all stakeholders should respond to gender based violence and child abuse including the rape of a seven-year-old girl at a Soweto primary school on Monday.

The department said that police should ensure that those responsible are brought to book and that support is provided to the girl and her family to deal with the trauma.

Government congratulated Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Dean Peacock of the Sonke Gender Justice Network for their selection into the Network of Leaders to support UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign.

Government said it supports the campaign's multi stakeholder action plan for ending gender violence.

2009 marks the 10 year anniversary of the campaign in South Africa and the activities of government and stakeholders have focused on the review of the campaign as well as finding measures to enhance its impact over 365 days of the year.

"Review processes have highlighted significant progress in increasing public awareness but equally acknowledged that much effort is still needed to reduce the unacceptably high incidents of violence," said the ministry.

The department said it was inviting stakeholders to a National Gender Machinery meeting on 14 December where the ministry will report back on the progress made in the development of its organizational structure, discuss the programme of action for the ministry and agree on an inclusive process for a review of the 365 Days National Action Plan. The report back comes after an initial consultative meeting on 31 July.

The ministry said that President Jacob Zuma's address at the commemoration of World AIDS Days highlighted the link between gender based violence and the spread of HIV.

It also said that today's observation of International Day for Persons with Disabilities will highlight the challenges of gender-based violence and abuse faced by people with disabilities.