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Six properties allocated for GBV survivors in the Western Cape

DA provincial spokesperson on Social Development Gillion Bosman said the shelters were set to operate as emergency units that would house women and children. Picture: Independent Archives

DA provincial spokesperson on Social Development Gillion Bosman said the shelters were set to operate as emergency units that would house women and children. Picture: Independent Archives

Published Nov 25, 2020

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Cape Town – The Western Cape government and the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which allows for six government-owned properties to be made available as shelters for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).

Department of Public Works and Infrastructure spokesperson Zara Nicholson said the MOU had been finalised, and the department had allocated the properties to provincial Social Development to use as shelters for GBV victims.

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DA provincial spokesperson on Social Development Gillion Bosman said the shelters were set to operate as emergency units that would house women and children for a period of up to two weeks.

Gillion said during the course of that time period, a social worker would carry out a safety and developmental needs assessment which would inform a decision on whether or not the survivor could be reintegrated into the community or referred to a longer-term shelter.

During the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign 2020 launch yesterday, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and People with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said women and children continued to live in a state of fear, as indicated by Police Minister Bheki Cele, who recently released the Quarter 2 Crime Statistics Report.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the focus with the 16 Days of No Violence against Women and Children Campaign should be to continue with efforts to end all forms of violence.

However, NGOs that fight violence against women and children said the government and the police needed to play a greater role in responding effectively to incidents of GBV and they should do so with a level of urgency and seriousness, treating all GBV cases equally.

Ilitha Labantu spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali said from a policy perspective, the government needed to capacitate all police stations with the adequate resources so that police could respond to cases efficiently. This was a big problem in the Cape Flats where the communities are plagued with high levels of crime and violence.

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“The issue goes beyond just the police and the government as all sectors of society need to play an active role towards addressing this scourge, and in order to effectively deal with this issue, the government and all stakeholders need to apply a 365-days-a-year strategy towards addressing GBV,” Monakali said.

He said the strategy needed to be proactive because many of the approaches towards addressing the scourge had been reactionary. A proactive approach would look towards the re-education of society and seek to challenge elements like toxic masculinity which underpins the nature of GBV.

“GBV is a human rights issue and it affects us all, irrespective of race, culture, class, religion or gender. We should all play our part in helping to root out the scourge,” he said.

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SA Women Fight Back founder Bronwyn Litkie said the country had not experienced any improvement when looking at how many women and children had lost their lives to GBV this year.

Litkie said it had been disappointing for them to hear that there was no allocated budget for GBV, when things were becoming increasingly dire.

“The DNA labs are over 100 000 cases behind and court cases are being postponed because of this,” she said. "Justice delayed is justice denied."

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Litkie added: “There are many stations doing their best but which do not have the required resources to do their job to their best ability.” She poibnted to a lack of rape kits and ongoing GBV training.

In addition, Litkie said there were not enough trauma counsellors and social workers.

Cape Argus

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