Western Cape Government shares progress made on its rollout of the GBV plans
On Thursday, 25 November 2021, the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, Ministers of Social Development and Community Safety, Ms Sharna Fernandez and Adv Albert Fritz, and the Director-General of the Western Cape Government, Dr Harry Malia, held a candle-lighting ceremony to commemorate the official launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign.
The ceremony follows the tabling and approval of the WCG GBV Implementation Plan, at the Wellbeing Cabinet meeting on the 1 September 2021, which aims to tackle the high levels of violence directed at women, children and LGBTQIA+ persons through employing transversal, coherent strategic framework to ensure a coordinated Provincial Government response to GBV and femicide.
It is a “living document” that will be reviewed and updated annually by all provincial departments. The GBV implementation plan is born out of the Western Cape Safety Plan, which aims to halve murder over the course 10 years through a combination of violence prevention and law enforcement initiatives. Please see hyperlink below more information on the WCG GBV Implementation Plan.
The Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, said: “We must empower women in every way so that they are treated with equal and due respect. We must ensure each woman has the opportunity to learn, grow, become financially stable and independent, and is inspired to do so. Among the ways that we are doing this is through the GBV Implementation Plan. This was something I committed to during my state of province address and going forward we will be taking the strategy forward by engaging with relevant stakeholders and communities on its implementation.”
The core objectives of the GBV plan are to assist the provincial government with its planning, implementing, coordinating, and monitoring essential actions and services for the prevention, and mitigation of GBV across the Province.
It also aims to strengthen existing GBV interventions and simultaneously, create opportunities for future evidence-based GBV interventions within but also, across the Provincial Departments. A transversal GBV Group has since established consisting of GBV champions for each Department, which meets monthly.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign aims to raise awareness and a call to action amongst all spheres of society to rise and address the scourge of violence and abuse impact that women and children experience daily.
The Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said: “The extent and nature of violence meted out against vulnerable persons, such as women, children, the LGBTQIA+ community and persons with disabilities, is deeply concerning.”
Premier Winde added: “As we begin 16 Days of Activism, it is important that we pay homage to victims of GBV and femicide, as we have done at today’s candle lighting ceremony. We cannot tolerate or condone the unequal treatment of women in our society, which contributes to ongoing GBV. Despite the tremendous progress made in advancing women’s rights, there are still discrepancies in land ownership, wages, interpersonal relations, and representation in industries, management or leadership positions, to name a few.”
Minister Fernandez continued: “Our response to Gender-Based Violence and Femicide must be intentional and uncompromising. It is a commitment of government, civil society partners, other social partners and communities to work together towards a sustained plan of action to curb Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. We need a 365 day approach to Gender Based Violence.”
GBV remains a significant issue in the country and province as more women were reportedly raped between April and June 2021, where sex-related crimes increased by 74%. Risk factors such as inter-personal violence, limited access to economic opportunities resulting in poverty and unemployment, alcohol abuse and patriarchal gender norms contribute to GBV, and therefore, requires a whole of government approach to address these drivers of GBV. “By working together, we can have one united voice against gender-based violence,” concluded Minister Fernandez.
To address this, the GBV implementation plan is guided by 6 pillars which include:
- Accountability, Coordination and Leadership
- Prevention and Rebuilding the Social Cohesion
- Justice, Safety and Protection
- Response, Care, Support and Healing
- Economic Power
- Research and Information Management
Premier Winded expanded: “Over the next 10 years we plan to strengthen state and societal accountability, at all levels, driven by bold leadership and high-level political commitment. We also aim to drive prevention, addressing harmful social and gender norms, facilitate healing and rebuild social cohesion. We will be locating a response to GBVF as integral to responding to violence, poverty and inequality, while widening the lens, to deepen our understanding and response in communities. This will require the support and buy-in of each stakeholder and I encourage you to play your part in ending GBV and working towards women’s empowerment.”
Should you be a victim of GBV or know of someone who is, we strongly encourage you to make use of the following support:
To report women and child abuse, you can call:
• Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800 150 150
• Report neglect or abuse of a child: 0861 4 CHILD (24453)
• SAPS: 08600 10111
• Childline: 116
• Report any abuse of children and women to the Provincial Department of Social Development on 0800 220 250.
• Gender-Based Violence Command Centre: 0800 428 428
• LifeLine 24-hour crisis helpline: 021 461 1111
Should you require support from the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust counselling lines, you can call:
• Observatory: 021 447 9762
• Athlone: 021 633 9229
• Khayelitsha: 021 361 9085
If you are a witness and are afraid for your safety, should you testify, you can apply for witness protection by contacting the Witness Protection Unit at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) at 012 845 6000
You can find out more about our safety services for women and children by sending an SMS with the word INFO to 35 395. Alternatively, for more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website.