Webinar finds more resources needed in fight against gender-based violence

7 Oct 2020 - 19:15

By Goitsemang Tlhabye

Originally published on IOL, 7 October 2020

Pretoria - Resources should be allocated towards ensuring policy and legislation tailored for the protection of women and children and fighting against gender-based violence.

This emerged from the third webinar series held by the UCT's Children’s Institute in collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council, Health Research Unit, and the Sonke Gender Justice (SGJ) yesterday.

Policy development and advocacy manager for SGJ, Kayan Leung, said the Domestic Violence Act recognised that domestic violence was a serious problem in societies.

And although the current version of the legislation appeared progressive in nature, the implementation of it, be it in the form of protection orders, finding alternative accommodation or medical assistance had historically been ineffective.

Leung said there were systematic failures in the implementation of the existing legislation in terms of the lack of training and knowledge on the part of service providers such as the police.

She added there were also resource constraints which led to the ineffectiveness of the legislation.

“There is a mismatch between the policy intention of the act and the strength of the intervention it is achieving in reality. This has resulted in persistently high levels of violence against women and children.”

Leung said the current version looked predominately at progressive measures, even taking a more victim-centred approach to ensure that the prevention of secondary victimisation was alleviated.

The hope of providing better interventions on accessing services to survivors of violence was still to be seen.

Dr Nwabisa Shai, specialist researcher in the gender and health research unit within the SA Medical Council, added that there was a need to collaborate between sectors dealing with the issue of violence.

Shai said the role of the children sector in the National Strategic Plan work was nearly invisible, with only a few actors actually being involved in it.