Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato File photo: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town's Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department is set to roll out their Men’s Programme to all areas of the city.

The pilot project, which took place in Delft last year and which facilitated the training of 50 men, explored a number of social aspects linked to violence against women and children.

This included gender relations as shaped by culture, tradition and religion; substance abuse; HIV/Aids; parenting; and cultivating positive role models. The beneficiaries of the Delft pilot programme continue their work in various organisations and projects.

"The Men’s Programme aims to change behaviour by unpacking the complexities that characterise the epidemic that is gender-based violence. 

"Men must be included in the interventions within communities," said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien.

The project has three phases: training, post-training support and the formation of men’s groups that will meet once a week and also recruit and train more participants in future.

In the current financial year, each area will have a Men’s Programme for 50 men which will speak to their specific context and requirements.  

"While we need to empower the vulnerable in our communities, we also need to address the problem on all levels.

"The majority of domestic violence perpetrators are men and they need to be given the skills to deal with the factors that lead to unacceptable behaviour. 

"We want to encourage fathers and men to participate in caring for their children and become role models," Badroodien said.

The City of Cape Town's Metro Police and Social Development and Early Childhood Development departments have hosted several programmes and initiatives to curb domestic violence throughout the year. 

"Women and children across the city are still suffering under high levels of domestic violence. As a city which aims to be world class, we cannot sit by idly where women, children and the elderly are abused and not respected. 

"Domestic violence awareness and education is one of the four focus areas of the Social Crime Prevention (SCP) interventions of the City's Metro Police Department and is aimed at breaking the silence around this scourge," said City of Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato.

The SCP has presented the eight-week workshops in Manenberg, Elsies River-Leonsdale, Belhar, Khayelitsha, Harare, Temperance Town in Gordons Bay, Goodwood, Kuilsriver, Hout Bay and Hanover Park. 

The presentation is also delivered on request at primary and high schools, NGOs, churches and during school holiday programmes. 

"Unfortunately the myths around domestic violence abound. It is not caused by alcohol and drugs and it is certainly not limited to a specific demographic. 

"Domestic violence happens in all our neighbourhoods across economic boundaries," said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

Victims of domestic violence are often unaware of the resources available to them, their rights granted by the Domestic Violence Act or the steps they can take to ensure their personal safety.

"As part of the programme, officers have a brochure which details what domestic violence is and how help and services can be accessed. 

"I want to encourage communities to speak up and speak out so we can ensure the safety of everyone. It is an ill we have to tackle together," said Smith.

Cape Times