International Day of Peace: Whole of Society Can Reduce Violence
With today marking International Day of Peace, the Western Cape Government is proud to be at the forefront of reducing violence and supporting victims of violence and abuse in the province.
Key to our efforts is adopting a whole-of-society approach, which involves building partnerships with the private sector, NGOs, and individuals in our communities.
The Department of Social Development, through its Victim Empowerment Programme, has over the past five years more than doubled our funding to NGOs rendering anti-violence and victim support services, and now spend just over R24 million assisting them.
The department funds a total of 36 NGOs of which 14 provide shelter for victims of abuse, and render key services to affected communities, with a special focus on women and children.
The 14 shelters provide shelter in emergency cases and provide therapeutic and practical support to abused women and children, also providing skills development and food to victims of violence and abuse.
The other NGOs provide individual counselling, psycho-educational therapeutic group sessions, victim support workshops, legal assistance, family counselling, and support for victims of rape and human trafficking.
Our emphasis as a department is that all victims of violence have access to a continuum of services, whilst we work with our partners to help tackle the violent crime and social ills which affect communities.
Minister Albert Fritz also recently launched the Western Cape Directory of Services for Victims of Crime and Violence. This was in partnership with national departments such as the South African Police Services, the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development, NGOs and the private sector which saw the Department of Social Development compile a directory, which is a comprehensive and detailed guide of where victims of violence can access assistance and services.
The levels of assistance needed differ from one case to the next and this directory distinguishes between all the various role players, and what specific services they render.
The directory contains important contact information for:
- police stations,
- medical services,
- Thuthuzela Care Centres,
- Shelters for victims of violence,
- human trafficking service organisations and
- psycho-social support services like counselling and other therapeutic services.
The electronic version is available on our website, and will constantly be updated, whilst hard-copies are being rolled out to all 151 police stations in the province.
These are just some of the many programmes the Department of Social Development has put in place to assist and compliment the good work being done by NGOs and other government departments and individuals.
However the success of our interventions depends on continued partnerships with communities and citizens. Most importantly, we need every individual to take responsibility for preventing this violence in their communities. In particular, we need men to lead this campaign by speaking out against the abuse of women and children, which affects many households. We will only be able to build peaceful communities, if we work “Better Together”.