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Cape Town – Sonke Gender Justice (SGJ) has been alarmed by recent media reports which claim that due to a lack of funding, half of the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) across the country are without counselling services or forced to rely on only one or two social workers to assist victims of sexual abuse and violence.

This is partly because funding from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and malaria is no longer available.

Sonke is deeply concerned that the lack of funding for TCCs impacts NGOs providing important support to survivors of sexual violence, especially in the most underserved parts of the country.

"TCCs provide a critical service to survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence by establishing a one-stop shop for survivors to obtain medical assistance, psycho-social support services and necessary legal assistance," SGJ said. 

"TCCs are crucial because they establish a victim-centred support for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) that aims to provide compassionate support and assistance, and to avoid potential secondary victimisation.

"Research shows that TCCs form a critical component of reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS and provide Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to those exposed to HIV and/or STIs. TCCs are thus a crucial component in the fight to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

During the “Presidential Summit against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide” in November last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa described TCCs as one of the government’s “more effective interventions” and stated that the government requires “concrete proposals” on how to run the centres.

"In expressing his commitment to end GBV, Ramaphosa also stated, 'We cannot, and we will not, rest until we have brought those figures down to zero. 

"We are aiming for a femicide rate of zero per 100 000. We want to reach a point where no woman, child or man has to experience the violence, violation and trauma of rape. There is no acceptable level of gender-based violence. We want to eradicate it.”

Sonke called on Ramaphosa to stand by his promise to support the work done by TCCs and, to this end, make the necessary resources available to ensure that TCCs obtain the necessary financial and institutional support.

"It is vital that Treasury’s allocation of resources to provinces is revisited, especially as they relate to provision of funds to TCCs. 

"Finally, we call on the Department of Social Development to urgently contribute financially to close the current funding gap," SGJ said.

Cape Times