Thursday, 07 February 2019

Cape Town: Government is putting its money where its mouth is in the protracted fight against gender-based violence.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a number of concrete steps government will take this year to make significant strides to arrest the tide of crimes against women and children.

Delivering his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday in Parliament, the President announced that government will implement coordinated interventions including increasing financial backing to initiatives that support survivors of gender-based violence.

“We are expanding and dedicating more funds to places of support, such as the Thuthuzela Care Centres and Khuseleka Care Centres. We have been working to ensure the better functioning of Sexual Offences Courts,” the President said.

Government, he said, will this year lead the campaign to include men and boys as active champions in the struggle against gender-based violence.

“Ending gender-based violence is an urgent national priority that requires the mobilisation of all South Africans and the involvement of all institutions. South Africa has extremely high levels of substance abuse, which feeds crime and violence against women and children. It deepens poverty and causes great hardship and pain for families.”

Over the last year, government has begun to address the scourge in a more serious and coordinated way.

“We are strengthening the functioning of various specialised units such as the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units and improving our administrative and record keeping capacity at all levels,” President Ramaphosa said.

In October last year, the President hosted the Gender-based Violence and Femicide Summit, where women from all walks of life came together with government and civil society to outline a road map to end gender-based violence, improve coordination of planning, and establish a commitment to resourcing and accountability.

“Work is underway to implement the decisions of the Summit, including preparing the National Strategic Plan on Gender- Based Violence,” President Ramaphosa said.

Government will improve the quality of services in shelters and ensure they also accommodate members of the LGBTQI+ community.

“We will strengthen the national hotline centre that supports women who experience gender-based violence and ensure it is functional. We have listened to the call to make funds available to combat gender-based violence, and have allocated funding in the current budget to support the decisions taken at the Summit,” the President said.

Government in October last year launched the Community Policing Strategy in a concerted effort to make the country safer and more secure.

“The strategy focuses on building partnerships between communities and the police; making more resources available for policing and better communication between the police and communities about crime prevention strategies,” the President said.

This will enable police officers to become more proactive in addressing crime and broader public safety concerns, he said. – SAnews.gov.za