Delft community taking ownership of GBV solutions
A successful engagement took place in Delft on Wednesday, 26 April 2023, between the Western Cape Department of Social Development (WCDSD), provincial Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen, the South African Police Services (SAPS) and various stakeholders to discuss interventions for the scourge of gender-based violence in the area.
The stakeholders included neighbourhood watches, Community Policing Forums, community leaders, civil society organisations, and WCDSD social workers.
The purpose of the imbizo was to find community-led solutions to prevent and end GBV in Delft, to bring together government and society to inform a GBV Implementation Plan for the crime-stricken area.
Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, is hopeful this engagement is the start of a fruitful working relationship with the Delft community: “The only way any type of GBV intervention plan will work is if we have the community’s inputs, buy-in and participation. We need residents to work with us, we need the private sector, NGOs, and other government departments to join us if we ever want to break the cycle of violence.”
Minister Allen said: “It is vital that we engage the broader society as often as possible on this critical matter. Delft requires urgent intervention, as not only GBV, but crime in general needs to be addressed. We are determined to see a turnaround and real safety brough to residents. I urge the entire community to join us in this fight so that we can eradicate these evils from Delft.”
Provincial head of the SAPS’ Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit, Brigadier Sonja Harri, said Delft is one of the province’s GBV hotspots. During the first three quarters of 2022, there were 175 reported rape cases and 60% of investigations leading to an arrest (106 arrests), and 20 sexual assault cases and leading to 16 arrests or 80% arrest rate of reported cases.
Delft residents discussed various ways to improve GBV-related services in their community and the challenges they currently experience. These include:
- Youth ambassadors and “street imbizos” in suburbs with high levels of GBV-related reported crimes are needed to raise awareness about GBV.
- National Justice Department officials need to show more empathy towards GBV victims, especially the elderly and people with disabilities.
- More social workers needed at schools.
- Neighbourhood watch members are often first responders at horrific crime scenes and they require more psychosocial support from the SAPS and WCDSD to deal with trauma.
- More SAPS resources needed in Delft and police need to raise awareness of its GBV Help Desk.
- Department of Health’s front-line staff need to be educated on referral pathways such as where to send victims to; staff assisting GBV victims must encourage them not to withdraw cases.
The WCDSD also shared information on some of the services that could contribute to a GBV Implementation Plan for Delft, including:
- Expansion of evidence-based parenting programmes via NPOs and regions.
- Expansion of the Risiha project through NPOs – Child and Youth Care workers. Risiha is a community-based child protection program aimed at children at risk.
- Provide training and support to neighbourhood watches.
- Expansion of Crime Prevention initiatives (NPO School based programmes).
- Expansion of Substance Prevention Interventions by NPOs.
- Appoint additional Social Service Organisations to address safe spaces and ambassador programme – coordinate referral pathway.
- Awareness GBV help desk and Delft Forum (to be launched later this year)
For anyone in need of assistance, like counselling, services can be accessed by visiting your nearest DSD office, or by contacting one of our funded NPO partners. Services can also be accessed by calling the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre on 0800 428 428. More information about services can be found on helpformen.co.za.