The South African government on Thursday identified key actions that will drive a joint emergency response to the crisis of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in the country.
These include the clearing of backlogs at forensic laboratories related to GBV, especially sexual assaults, said Olive Shisana, social policy advisor to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The government will hire additional staff for sexual offence courts, care centers for victims and investigative units, Shisana said.
Training on victim-centric and survivor-focused services will be rolled out immediately, with a specific drive to train police, prosecutors, magistrates and policy-makers, according to Shisana.
The government will ensure the procurement of evidence-collection kits – paediatric rape kits, adult rape kits and buccal sample kits – for investigation purposes, she said.
Behaviour-change interventions will be launched to influence changed behavior for men and boys, Shisana said.
A GBVF fund will also be established for rapid response to assist survivors at the community level, including access to justice through legal aid, said Shisana.
In the wake of the recent countrywide spate of incidents of GBVF, in which dozens of women were killed, the government has earmarked 1.1 billion rand (about 74.8 million U.S. dollars) for the implementation of anti-GBVF actions, Shisana said.
The anti-GBVF actions came as a result of a series of meetings and engagements between the Interim Steering Committee on GBVF and all social sectors, according to Shisana.
Ramaphosa set up the committee last month to lead the fight against GBVF.
The committee comprises a range of government departments and entities, civil society organizations focused on GBVF, research institutions, development agencies and other organizations.