by Safiyia Stanfley – Chairperson of DAWN Northern Cape
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Date: 08 March 2018
The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) is disappointed that provincial government, through the State of the Province Address (SOPA) and the provincial budget speech, has shown so little commitment towards addressing gender-based violence in the province.
Late last year, at the launch of the 16 Days Campaign, Premier Sylvia Lucas said that government remains committed to ensure the best interests of women and children and to make every day a safe and violence-free day. However, aside from indicating that last year’s Call-to-Action Campaign would be continued, neither herself nor MEC of Finance, Mac Jack, said anything to substantiate her claims.
This is disturbing.
In its latest quarterly report, the provincial Health Department indicates that the incidence of violent crimes perpetrated against the vulnerable groups in society is significantly on the increase in the Northern Cape. They further say that the number of sexual offences reported increased with 100% countrywide and that more and more violent deaths of women and children are reported in the Northern Cape.
Meanwhile, the latest quarterly report of the Department of Social Development shows that 1048 victims of crime, which is 723 more victims than bargained for by the department, necessitated psycho social support services from July to September last year. During the same period, 50 victims of crime also accessed services from funded Victims Empowerment (VEP) Centres. Bed capacity at the province’s five funded VEP centres, at any given time, however, is only 29.
It is clear that not only is the province severely under-capacitated to address the burden of violence in the Northern Cape but also that the political will to do so does not exist.
A DA government would expand support to victims of violence to ensure that they are empowered to be able to walk away from abusive relationships. We would also ensure that the Crime Prevention Strategy, which is of great importance in addressing gender based violence in the province, is finally funded so that it can actually be implemented.
Women, children and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual and Intersexual (LGBTI) community deserve to feel safe in the Northern Cape. They also deserve to be given the opportunity to escape abusive circumstances. This is part of the Total Change that a DA government can offer.
Chairperson of DAWN Northern Cape
084 919 4157
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387