Tag Archives: Gender based violence

Gender-Based Violence Command Centre wins Best Technology Innovation world award

Announcement animation

Pretoria, November 5, 2015 – The Department of Social Development’s Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) – a 24-hour call centre dedicated to providing support and counselling to victims of gender based violence – has been named the Best Technology Innovation – Small Centre of the world at the Global Best Contact Centre Awards in Las Vegas on November 5.

As the Gold Medal Winner, this means the GBVCC is ranked number one in the world in its category.

This adds to three other highly acclaimed service awards the GBVCC has won since its launch in March 2014 – the Innovation Award in the Contact Centre Management Group (CCMG) awards, the Changing Lives Award in the Africom Awards, as well as the Golden Award won in the Technological Innovation Awards in London.

Minister for Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, says the international recognition of the GBVCC communicates the South African government’s commitment to fighting gender-based violence to the rest of the world and places the country at the lead of international best practice against gender-based violence.

“We launched the Command Centre as part of our service delivery improvement programme aimed at responding quicker, more effectively and innovatively to social challenges in the country, Project Mikondzo. Being recognised for best technology innovation in the world confirms that we are on the right track and it inspires us to work even harder to find inventive ways of responding effectively to the social challenges in the country.

Rose opening Animation

“The award comes just a few weeks before we launch the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children 2015 Campaign and emboldens us to work harder to eradicate violence against women and children. We express our thanks to the organisations who have partnered with us in making this project a reality,” said Minister Dlamini.

The GBVCC uses mobile technology to estimate the location of a victim, assign the closest social worker in the field to the case, and record and receive continuous feedback on the case. When a caller contacts the GBVCC from a mobile phone, they are (with explicit permission) geographically located, enabling the Centre to determine the resources nearest to the caller, whether it be a social worker, a police station, a hospital or safe house. In this way, help is dispatched in quick fashion.

The toll free number to call to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV). Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.

Girl holding teddy

The GBVCC emanated from the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Root Causes of Violence Against Women and Children – chaired by Minister Dlamini.

The IMC was established by President Jacob Zuma in May 2012 to reinforce political leadership and accountability in the national prevention and response to the rising figures of sexual violence in our country.

The membership of the IMC comprises of the Ministers of Justice and Constitutional Development; Women; Home Affairs; Police and Basic Education. Through the GBVCC, the work of this Committee is certainly contributing towards the improvement of the country response to and prevention of sexual violence.

Media inquiries: Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or lumkao@dsd.gov.za

“We Need to Talk…”

Announcement animation

We need to talk . . .

… about why justice is an aspiration but not a reality for the women of South Africa”

Join us and the following speakers for breakfast and conversation about this important subject on 19 June 2015

Janet Love, National Director, Legal Resources Centre and Commissioner, SA Human Rights Commission

Patience Mpani, Senior Researcher, Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre

Sushila Dhever, Partner & Head of Pro Bono Unit for Fasken Martineau

Asha Ramla, Magistrate, Germiston Court

Malesela Aaron Raletjena, Senior State Advocate, National Prosecuting Authority

Gushwell Brooks, journalist, conversation moderator

Time: 07-10.30 am

RSVPs essential

For more information or to RSVP please email tshwaranang@tlac.org.za

The event will also be live tweeted and you can follow or join the conversation via‪ #‎WeNeedToTalkSA‬ @endGBV

Support and Counselling: Gender Based Violence


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that between 40 percent and 70 percent of women are killed by their partners in South Africa.

The Department of Social Development and the Vodacom Foundation has launched a 24-hour call centre dedicated to providing support and counselling to victims (survivors) of Gender Based Violence.The number to call is:


where victims (survivors) will speak to a Social Worker for assistance and counselling. Social Workers answering the calls are expected to provide telephonic support and counselling and direct the victims (survivors) cases to Social Workers in their pilot areas/districts. Social Workers have been trained on the Gender Based Violence Command Centre systems and have been given cell phones to provide feedback on cases.

You can also request a Social Worker to call you at *120*7867# free of charge from any cell phone.

Why rape is not reported

Girl Reading Book

A non-governmental organisation in Cape Town, Western Cape recently conducted a survey to find out the main reasons for survivors not reporting rape (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RTDK9JL).

The result of that survey was as follows (in the order of most common reason to least common reason given)

1. They are scared of the process of reporting and going to court
2. They are scared of what the rapist might do
3. They don’t want people to find out
4. They don’t think the case will be successful
5. They wrongly feel they are partly to blame
6. The don’t know that what happened to them was rape
7. They don’t know how to report rape
Source: Rape Crisis survey on Facebook, January 2014

In all of the above reasons given for not reporting rape, what can we do to help?

• What can we do to make things less scary?

• How can we encourage reporting even though conviction rates are not guaranteed?

• What can we do to convince survivors they are not to blame for what happened – not even partially to blame?

• Definition of rape – defining what constitutes rape is not enough. How do we convince men and women that rape is not only perpetrated by strangers? i.e. you could be raped by your husband/boyfriend/colleague/friend.

Six point checklist on Justice for Violence Against Women

Spinning Crayons

Sexual and gender-based acts of violence are always a crime and a fundamental violation of human rights.

Amnesty International’s checklist for identifying obstacles to justice for women or girls who are victims and survivors of sexual and other forms of gender based violence contains very specific questions, i.e.

Six Point Checklist on Justice for Violence against Women

1. Are existing laws adequate?
2. Is it safe for a victim to report a crime of a sexual or gender-based violence?
3. Are collection of forensic evidence and provision of medical care appropriate and adequate?
4. Are there specific obstacles which prevent a victim from accessing appropriate services in a timely way?
5. Is investigation of crimes efficient and thorough?
6. Are trials fair, competent and efficient?

What are your answers to these questions (specific to the situation in your own country)?

1. Are the existing laws in your country adequate?
2. Is it safe for a victim to report a crime of a sexual nature or gender-based violence?
3. Are collection of forensic evidence and provision of medical care appropriate and adequate?
4. Are there specific obstacles which prevent a victim from accessing appropriate services in a timely way?
What are those obstacles? How can these obstacles be overcome?
5. Is investigation of crimes efficient and thorough?
6. Are trials fair, competent and efficient? What are the challenges? How can those challenges be overcome?

We would like to hear your comments/feedback regarding these issues.

• What have you experienced yourself (first hand experience)?

• What have you heard from friends/family/colleagues?

• What has their experience been?

Websites of interest

Announcement animation

National Child Traumatic Stress Network http://www.nctsn.org/ – Secondary traumatic stress: On this new webpage you will find resources related to secondary traumatic stress and links to a wide range of documents, programs, and materials that can be used by individuals and organisations to create secondary traumatic stress-informed responses to indirect trauma expo-sure. [Source: NCTSN].

Trust Fund for Victims: http://www.trustfundforvictims.org/ – This global movement to end impunity and promote justice aims to implement Court-ordered reparations; and provide physical and psychosocial rehabilitation or material support to victims of crimes within the jursidiction of the ICC. [Source: WUNRN].

The Men’s Story Project: http://www.mensstoryproject.org/ – This initiative aims strengthen social norms that support healthy masculinities and gender equality, and to help eliminate gender-based violence, homophobia and other oppressions that are intertwined with masculinities, through men´s public story-sharing events, documentary films and other mass media. [Source: Prevent-Connect].

Violence against deaf women: http://youtu.be/hi9NUoZmulU – Effect of partner hearing status. Anderson M.L, Kobek Pezzarossi C.M. J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ, ePub, 2013: This article investigates the prevalence, correlates, and characteristics of intimate partner violence victimization in hearing-Deaf and Deaf-Deaf relationships. [Source: MedAdvocates].

Early maladaptive schemas in convicted sexual offenders:
Preliminary findings. Carvalho J, Nobre P.J. Int. J. Law Psychiatry, ePub, 2013: This article explores the relationship between early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) and sexual offending, as well as how rapists and child sex molesters differ in terms of these schemas. [Source: SafetyLit].

SVRI letter to UNAIDS re: why including gender equality & GBV in core programming is important

Gender Equality (slogan)

Do you know about the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI)?

You can find them at: http://www.svri.org

Do you know about the letter they wrote to UNAIDS entitled: Why including gender equality and gender-based violence in the core programming and as critical enablers in the new UNAIDS investment framework matters.

What are your views regarding this?

To maintain or not to maintain, that is the question . . .

White Unicorn Animation

Do you live in South Africa? Are you planning or are you in the process of a divorce? Do you know what our law says about maintenance?

Do you know that you can apply for an Interim Maintenance Order while you are waiting for your divorce to be finalized to help with your expenses?

• Encompasses accommodation, food, clothes, medical and dental expenses and other necessities of life on a scale that is in line with the social position, lifestyle and financial resources of the parties. The scope of maintenance is always determined according to the standard of living of the parties concerned. In other words, you should be able to maintain the lifestyle you were accustomed to while you were married – you should not be worse off or better off.
• A child is entitled to reasonable maintenance to provide for his/her needs as in first bullet point above as well as in education and training and, where applicable, even recreation (sports, hobbies etc).
• In the assessment of maintenance for children their needs and the parent’s ability to pay are the primary factors to be considered, but the most important factor is always in the best interests of the child.
• Payments cannot be made directly to the child – it has to be done via the parent who has custody of the child.
• A father who has re-married must adjust his own standard of living rather than allow his children to be prejudiced i.e. he cannot get married again to “spite” his ex-wife or children.
• The Divorce Act provides for maintenance orders as well as to the division of the assets of a marriage. The court will decide how long the Maintenance Order will be in force – for a set period of time or until the death or re-marriage of the party who is to receive the maintenance.
• The means of support includes property that could be used to produce income.
• Duration of the marriage – if the marriage was of short duration, it should not be difficult for both spouses to pick up the threads of their previous lifestyles and means of support. However, if they have been married for a long time, it may be extremely difficult for the wife to become self-supporting because of her age, possible lack of job skills and experience

Before accepting your final Maintenance Order, please ensure provision is made for future earnings on your side. Think about the risk of losing your job (at your age) and the risk involved in getting another job and the risk of getting another job that will pay enough money for you to support your children.

In other words, if you are already struggling on your existing salary. What happens if you lose your job tomorrow? Do you have the necessary skills to get another better paying job? What is the risk of you getting another job at the same salary you are earning now? What is the risk of you never finding employment again due to your age? Your Lawyer must make allowances for all this BEFORE YOU SIGN THE FINAL MAINTENANCE ORDER.

You said he can keep his pension and you can keep yours – don’t be too hasty to say this. Think about your retirement years. How are you going to survive on your pension alone until you die?


• In terms of the Maintenance Act, an order for a lump sum payment of maintenance is possible.

• Rule 43 of the High Court rules provides an inexpensive and speedy remedy where the following are sought:
– Maintenance (pending the Divorce suite) i.e while the Divorce is pending
– A contribution towards costs of a pending matrimonial action

This will require the Applicant to deliver a Sworn Affidavit setting out what is claimed and the grounds for the claim (in your case, you don’t earn enough to cover all the expenses on your existing salary). Use the same form you used to apply for Maintenance to guide you as to how this Affidavit must be structured to strengthen your case.

Grounds for payment – must be based on fact. You cannot thumb suck. Provide copies of receipts/invoices etc if you have them to solidify your case. The objective of these proceedings is to be as inexpensive and as speedy as possible so provide as much information up front as possible so you don’t waste the Court’s time.

The Court will broadly speaking apply the principles relating to the NEED of the parties or of the child (children) concerned, means of the parties and their obligations to support the children or each other. The emphasis falls on a just and speedy decision.

• An Applicant is entitled to reasonable Interim Maintenance but not to luxuries.
• The fees which the Advocate and Attorney may charge are limited by the court rule. Where there is an existing Maintenance Order made by the Maintenance Court an application for Interim Maintenance cannot be brought to the High Court under rule 43.
• Interim Maintenance Orders in the Maintenance Court – A Maintenance Court can grant an Interim Order for maintenance pending a divorce and it can also replace or discharge an Interim Order it has made, or replace or discharge a High Court Order for Interim Maintenance.

Maintenance for children over 18
In terms of our law, a child becomes an adult these days at the age of 18. A lot of people believe that in fact that is when an obligation for maintenance ends.

The Maintenance Act itself does not comment on the duration of this responsibility to support a child and in the circumstances, the answer is found in our common law which provides that a parent has a duty to support the child, until the child becomes self-supporting. This was also confirmed in the 1999 case of Bursey v Bursey & Another in the Appellate Division. A child cannot be self-supporting, if for example, the child is still studying or if for example, the child is handicapped and cannot look after him/herself.
In terms of the new Children’s Act, maintenance is payable until the age of 18 years. Before the new Children’s Act came into effect, maintenance was payable by the parent in respect of the minor child until the minor child was 21 years of age or self-supporting, whichever event should occur first.
Section 305 (4) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 provides that “A person who is legally liable to maintain a child is guilty of an offence if that person, while able to do so, fails to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, lodging and medical assistance”. Section 305 (6) provides that a person can be sentenced to imprisonment of 10 years and provides “a person convicted of an offence in terms of subsection (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment”.

Are you a survivor of domestic violence or gender based violence?


If you are a survivor of domestic violence or gender based violence, we would appreciate you answering the following three questions, please.

The information will be used to prepare a presentation for a Women’s Day afternoon tea for a church group and under no circumstances will your name be mentioned.

Reflecting on your situation you have survived, how would you answer these questions?

1) As a survivor of domestic violence/gender based violence, what are you thankful for?

2) What support would you have liked from your community while you were going through your situation?

3) How important would support from your church have been and what would you have liked your Rector/Pastor to do for you to help you?

Thank you for your willingness to assist us with this information

I Got Flowers Today . . .

Flowers Dazzling Animation

I Got Flowers Today

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t my birthday or any other special day.
We had our first argument last night,
And he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me.
I know he is sorry and didn’t mean the things he said.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t our anniversary any other special day.
Last night, he threw me into a wall
and started to choke me.
It seemed like a nightmare.
I couldn’t believe it was real.
I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.
I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today,
and it wasn’t Mother’s Day or any other special day.
Last night, he beat me up again.
And it was much worse than all the other times.
If I leave him, what will I do?
How will I take care of my kids?
What about money?
I’m afraid of him and scared to leave.
But I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
Today was a very special day.
It was the day of my funeral.
Last night, he finally killed me.
He beat me to death.
If only I had gathered enough courage and strength to leave him,
I would not have gotten flowers…today.

By Paulette Kelly
© Copyright 1992 Paulette Kelly
All Rights Reserved