October is Social Development Month: International Day of Non-Violence | Western Cape Government



October is Social Development Month: International Day of Non-Violence

2 October 2020

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed annually on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

The 2020 theme for the International Day of Non-Violence is “Shaping Peace Together.” We urge the public to celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the pandemic. We urge the public to stand together with the UN against attempts to use the COVID-19 pandemic to promote discrimination or hatred.

According to the United Nations, “the principle of non-violence — also known as non-violent resistance — rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. Often described as ‘the politics of ordinary people’, this form of social struggle has been adopted by mass populations all over the world in campaigns for social justice.”

The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said, “Whilst we are taking a number of steps in terms of our responses to violence, we need to explore and implement effective ways in which to prevent violence.  As part of our long term strategy, we believe identifying and reducing youth risk behaviour will reduce violence in targeted areas.

As part of this strategy government social workers, in partnership with the NPOs and civil society will identify, assess and refer youth who live in very violent communities for specialized interventions that include parenting programs, programs specific to the needs of the boy child and programs aimed at learners in schools where risky behavior has been identified.”

The Department of Social Development (DSD) is in the process of identifying schools in the highest risk precincts where DSD social workers identify, assess and refer youth at risk for specialised interventions on a weekly basis. DSD’s existing statutory services in child protection, child justice, probation and substance abuse harm reduction, as well as other key services in youth development and victim support, also play an important role in contributing to violence reduction and prevention.

The provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) provides a wide-array of crime prevention and support programmes. These interventions provide a range of specialised probation services to persons (children, youth and adults) in conflict with the law and their victims to reduce recidivism, through:

  • Social crime prevention programmes to create and sustain a positive social environment, address the social risk factors of crime and violence in high-risk areas and increase resilience to these risk factors;
  • A range of reintegration programmes to children and adults in conflict with the law who completed community-based and/or residential programmes to promote stable interpersonal relationships and reduce their chances of re-offending;

We also have a number of victim support and empowerment programmes in place:

  • The provincial Department of Social Development currently funds 20 shelters in the Western Cape that can accommodate victims and their children for up to 3 months, and 4 emergency shelters that accommodate victims for up to 3 weeks.
  • Shelters provide for basic needs that include: safe accommodation, protection, food, clothing and emotional support such as trauma debriefing and therapeutic counselling provided by a social worker. To assist with reintegration, victims are also provided with skills development opportunities to assist with the economic empowerment of the victim.
  • The Department of Social Development also recently completed online trauma support training for housemothers in our funded shelters.
  • The training covers the definition of trauma and violence, the basics of trauma support, trauma responses, interventions (including protection orders, psychological first aid, support groups) and also how to care for yourself as a trauma support worker.
  • The Department of Social Development’s Victim Empowerment Programme offers a variety of services to support 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
    -providing a shelter service.

“We will continue to adopt a whole-of-society approach. This involves building partnerships with the private sector, NGOs, other civil society organizations, various spheres of governments and individuals in our communities,” concluded Minister Fernandez.

 For more information contact:

Any persons interested in finding out more information about the services we offer, individuals can make contact with our department by calling, 0800 220 250, to be directed to your nearest local DSD office.

For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:


Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949

Email: Joshua.chigome@westerncape.gov.za­