Cabinet has reiterated its call to everyone, especially men, to take a stand and play an active role in ending the scourge of violence against women and children.
“Men must lead by speaking out against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and reporting it to law-enforcement agents. They must also raise awareness, and engage in peer education and efforts to prevent GBVF,” said Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele.
Briefing the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, Gungubele noted that as the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign draws to an end, it remains a disturbing reality that more still needs to be done to eradicate gender-based violence and femicide in society.
“Many harrowing GBVF-related stories, including the loss of lives, have been reported during this period, and throughout the entire extended 365 Days of Activism campaign. We are failing as a nation when the cries of the most vulnerable in our society remain unheard or ignored.
“The irresponsible societal norms which validate the violent behaviour of men and the tendency to victimise women who break their silence must stop,” Gungubele said.
The 16 Days campaign forms the centre point of government’s comprehensive 365 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the global 16 Days campaign.
Introduction of Statutory Sexual Offences Courts
In order to improve government’s response to sexual offences and gender-based violence, the Minister announced that government is currently moving to the introduction of Statutory Sexual Offences Courts, following the re-establishment of 106 Sexual Offences Courts across the country.
“In February 2020, section 55A of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act was signed into operation, meaning that for the first time Sexual Offences Courts will now be established in accordance with a statute.
“Section 55A of the Act empowers the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services to designate, not only a selected regional court, but also any Division of the High Court, as a Sexual Offences Court,” the Minister explained.
Cabinet also urged all sectors of society to collaborate with government to create safer communities and protect victims of abuse.
“It will only change if we all act, and the time to act is now!”
All GBVF-related incidents can be reported to the police or call the National GBVF Command Centre on 0800 428 428, or Stop Gender Violence Helpline on 0800 150 150/*120*7867#.
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