I condemn in the strongest terms the ongoing violence and abuse taking place against women, in the Western Cape.
Just last week, a series of reports of women being victims of violence, at the hands of both men and women circulated in both print and social media; most notably, the murder of 28-year-old Ruchian-Kay Lawak; 21- year-old Lamees Dilman, 17-year-old Unam Bless, 20-year-old Siyasanga Nkasela, 21-year-old Zintle Meloni and many, many more.
The increasing attacks on the physically disabled, intellectually challenged and elderly women is deeply concerning. These attacks are a disturbing trend that must be addressed urgently within our communities.
We all have a duty to protect the most vulnerable! As such, I call on every member of society and all relevant stakeholders to help us in our fight against all forms of violence against women.
The provincial Department of Social Development (DSD)’s Victim Empowerment Programme, supported by service providers in the Western Cape, offers a variety of services to support GBV victims, which include:
• ensuring that victims receive emotional and practical support,
• assisting victims with the management of trauma,
• ensuring that victims are educated to identify the symptoms of post-traumatic stress,
• referring victims to professional services where necessary,
• provision of court support services during the criminal justice process is dealt with efficiently,
• promoting the rights and responsibilities of victims through advocacy,
• ensuring that victims are aware of their rights,
• ensuring that ongoing victimisation is prevented and
• providing a shelter service.
A shelter is a place where victims of crime and violence are able to live for a period of one day up to approximately three months, depending on the needs of the victims.
The shelter assists with meeting basic needs such as:
• providing a safe place to live,
• providing protection, food and clothing,
• providing emotional support services such as trauma debriefing and therapeutic counselling,
• providing information on developing skills, victim’s rights and capacity building,
• support in preparation for court procedures,
• programmes focused on alleged perpetrators and
• gender-based violence prevention programmes.
A shelter for victims of crime and violence does not provide statutory services to children. Therefore, shelters cannot accommodate children without their parents/ legal guardians.
“I want to take this moment to extend my sincere thanks to our NGOs, social workers, CPFs, NHWs, communities and all other stakeholders.
Thank you for your contributions to supporting victims of Gender-based Violence and, by doing so, helping us in our fight against the scourge of Gender-Based Violence.