/ 31 July 2023

Young people fighting against gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is not a women’s-only issue nor is it an only-male problem. It is a human issue, a societal issue, a national issue. Photo: Marco Longari/AFP

The national youth crime prevention committee, established last year, has reported a positive shift in South Africa’s fight against Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).

“The first shift was that policing does not have to be responsive as far as crime is concerned. This fundamental shift [contributed] to many active policing programmes where the community, victims [and] offenders are consulted in different forums to talk about crime,” said Sipho Rataza, the committee’s national spokesperson.

Rataza added that socio-economic factors have contributed to an increase in crime.

This has led to the police outlining an integrated youth crime prevention strategy, which focuses on the policing needs of young people and the interventions if crimes are committed.

“The … strategy also seeks to effectively and efficiently coordinate youth crime prevention initiatives,” said Rataza.

The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), in partnership with Agape Youth Movement, joined by the conveners of Pillar 2, of the National Strategic Plan for the End Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, hosted a webinar on the role of young people in preventing such crimes.

“The webinar aims to educate the youth about the role they can play as future leaders of communities in preventing GBVF,” says the GCIS.

The latest crime statistics of the first three months of 2023, show that 1 0512 women were raped, 1 485 attempted murders of women were reported, 969 women were killed, and more than15 000 women reported cases of assault.

“Women of this country continue to be stalked by violence, mainly at the hands of men. A double-digit percentage increase of 21.5% was recorded in attempted murder figures for the 4th Quarter,” said Police Minister Bheki Cele in May, when he released the crime statistics reported from 1 January to 31 March 2023.

Meanwhile, Agape Youth Movement said: “We are attempting to build a human capital of Africa’s nearly one billion youth by empowering them to be responsible [and] actively engage citizens [into] driving sustainable development,” said Matsetsebale Tleane, Agape’s managing director.

These school-based initiatives have included various programmes to encourage safer school environments and support GBVF initiatives by learners.