In response to this crisis, the South African government launched the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (NSPGBVF) in 2020.
The NSPGBVF is a comprehensive and multi-sectoral response to GBVF, aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating violence against women, children, and other vulnerable groups. The plan was developed through a consultative process that involved civil society organizations, government departments, and other stakeholders. It is guided by the principles of prevention, protection, response, and care.
One of the key achievements of the NSPGBVF is the establishment of the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Council. The council is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the plan and coordinating efforts across different sectors. It is composed of representatives from government, civil society, academia, and the private sector. The council has already started its work by developing a monitoring and evaluation framework to track progress in implementing the NSPGBVF.
Another important aspect of the NSPGBVF is the establishment of a dedicated funding mechanism for GBVF interventions. The government has committed to investing R1.6 billion over the next three years to support the implementation of the plan. This funding will be used to strengthen the criminal justice system, increase access to support services for survivors, and to prevent GBVF through targeted interventions.
The NSPGBVF also recognizes the importance of prevention and has outlined a number of strategies aimed at changing attitudes and behaviors that contribute to GBVF. One such strategy is the development of a national social and behavior change communication campaign aimed at challenging harmful gender norms and promoting positive attitudes towards women and girls. The campaign will target different audiences, including men and boys, to promote gender equality and prevent GBVF.
In addition, the NSPGBVF has put a strong emphasis on improving access to support services for survivors of GBVF. This includes expanding the network of Thuthuzela Care Centres, which provide comprehensive care for survivors of sexual violence, and increasing the number of shelters for survivors of domestic violence. The plan also includes provisions for training health care workers and other service providers to respond effectively to GBVF.
The NSPGBVF is a crucial step towards addressing the crisis of GBVF in South Africa. While the plan is still in its early stages of implementation, it represents a commitment from the government to take concrete actions to address this pervasive issue. By bringing together different sectors and stakeholders, the NSPGBVF has the potential to make a significant impact in reducing and ultimately eliminating GBVF in South Africa. However, sustained political will and funding will be essential to ensure its success.