South Africa: 16 days are over, now the real work begins

The 16 Days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign has come to an end, but now the real work begins and must continue every day.

For the Western Cape Government (WCG), addressing gender-based violence is not limited to the period of 25 November to 10 December. It is a priority throughout the year.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) has been leading the roll-out of the WCG GBV Implementation Plan. The plan has assisted us in the planning, coordination, and monitoring of efforts that aim to address GBV, directly and indirectly.

It fortifies current GBV services and interventions and allows us to explore new opportunities, like the geo-mapping system the DSD has developed to track the prevalence of GBV in the province and allocate resources accordingly.

“We are doing as much as we can to stem the tide of violence, and support survivors, but government is not the sole agent of change. We are already seeing the very real impact of the 2023 national wage agreement and national budget pressures. Due to the significant cuts from national government in the Adjusted Budget for 2023/24, the Department reduced and reprioritized funding allocations to several sub-programmes, including the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP),” says Provincial Minister of Social Development Sharna Fernandez.

“This unprecedented cut in the current financial year – and projected reductions in the new financial year – meant we had to halt the opening of a new GBV shelter in Murraysburg. While further cuts are speculative at this stage, I am deeply concerned about the NGO and NPO sector, as well as DSD staff who may have to deal with the increased demand for services. Now more than ever, we need our partners across society to take hands with NGOs in the GBV space that are providing crucial services to survivors and their children. Corporates and citizens who can support registered entities, I encourage you to do so.”

The Department remains committed to supporting all those impacted by violence and abuse, whether women, children, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, or men.

76 178 GBV survivors accessed psychosocial support services provided and funded by DSD in 2022/2023, a significant increase from 51 790 in 2020/21. DSD also funds 26 shelters across the province.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic Of South Africa: Western Cape Provincial Government.

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