Delegates commit to effective response to GBV

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide has ended on a high note with all stakeholders re-affirming their commitment to a united, comprehensive and effective response to GBV.

The two-day summit, which started on Thursday was convened by government in a bid to raise awareness and end the scourge of violence against women and children that has reached “worrying proportions” in the country.

At the end of the summit on Friday, delegates including women, civil society organisations and government, presented a national declaration of priority actions, setting the roadmap to a South Africa free from GBV and femicide.

In a declaration, delegates endorsed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for all South Africans to respond to GBV and to establish a multi-sectoral structure to allocate the necessary resources required, and develop a national strategy.

“We appreciate the President’s pledge to the women of South Africa to listen and respond with the urgency required. We resolve that, as South Africans, to work collaboratively towards the eradication of gender-based violence and femicide.

“We commit ourselves, political and community leadership to champion the course and eradicate GBV and femicide…,” Lulama Nare from the Commission for Gender Equality read part of the declaration.

The delegates also recognised that the Constitution sets the overarching framework for effectively responding to and preventing GBV, [and] that a range of laws and policies, programmes and interventions are in place across all sectors to address respective forms of GBV.

High levels of secondary victimisation

However, the delegates noted that despite this, the implementation of these laws and policies is not effective, as survivors continue to experience high levels of secondary victimisation and the criminal justice system response is inadequate.

“Survivors’ psychosocial and related needs are not being met and often civil society organisations are bearing the brunt of providing care and response. Prevention is a key element in turning the tide on GBV, but has not received the necessary attention,” the delegates noted.

The delegates also called for an immediate establishment of an interim structure with a primary objective of establishing a national multi-stakeholder, inclusive representative and functional council that is legislated and championed by the President, within six months.

Once signed, the declaration would be submitted to the Presidency. –