Concerns raised over the spike of gender-based violence attacks
Durban - The Foundation for Human Rights is concerned about the rising incidents of gender-based violence against women and children during the Covid-19 lockdown.
According to the foundation, the SAPS received more than 2 333 complaints of gender-based violence (GBV) in just seven days of the lockdown.
Condemning gender-based violence, the foundation said that as the country battled with the pandemic, gender-based violence incidents were continuing unabated. The foundation said the cases reported were predominantly committed against women and children.
The foundation’s co-ordinator, Rumbidzai Chidoori, said gender-based violence undermined the health, safety, security and dignity of thousands of women and girls.
“The foundation condemns gender-based violence in all its forms. It is a grave violation of fundamental human rights contained in our constitutional Bill of Rights,” said Chidoori.
Chidoori said the first week’s figures were 37% higher than the weekly average of domestic violence cases reported to the police in 2019 alone.
She said a lot of the structural issues and drivers of GBV were heightened during the lockdown as women and girls were in isolation with perpetrators of violence.
“We urge the government to prioritise the prevention and redress of violence against women. We urge the government to allocate more resources and work collaboratively with civil society and community-based organisations to provide front-line services to women and children during this time.
“Women’s rights are key to building stronger and more resilient communities. Let us act now in saving the lives of women and children,” she added.
The Gender-Based Violence command centre had received nearly 12000 calls since the lockdown. From March 1 to 26, they received a total of 4 983 complaints, of which about 133 were GBV-related.
After the announcement of the lockdown, statistics showed that from March 27 to April 11, the command centre received 8 764 complaints, with 333 related to GBV.
Social Development Department spokesperson Abram Phahlamohlaka said the command centre received calls in a variety of cases, including domestic violence, rape, physical abuse and indecent assault.