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In an effort to fight the ongoing scourge of demonic acts of violence against Women and Children in South Africa, Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez joined hands with P♀WA and JOKO to discuss the causes and solutions to this epidemic.

The #EndDomesticSilence is a gender-based violence campaign launched by Unilever (JOKO) and People Opposed to Women Abuse (POWA) partnership.

The Department of Social Development holds a zero-tolerance approach to any and all forms of violence against women and children.

“We cannot overcome violence against women and children alone. In this regard, we call on all men and women in South African society to help us in our fight by being our eyes and ears across our communities. Moreover, domestic violence is on the increase in the Western Cape, to the point where, it would be fair to say that our society is at war with its own women and children, says Minister Fernandez.”

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the world. This form of violence is the most common and widespread human rights abuse in South Africa. Every day, women are murdered, physically and sexually assaulted, threatened and humiliated by their partners, within their own homes, which ought to be a place of safety.

One out of every five woman in South Africa is regularly assaulted by her partner. Furthermore, women in South Africa stay in domestically violent relationships for an average of 10-15 years.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development, through its Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP), is responsible for providing victim support services that includes safe and secure accommodation, psycho-social support and empowerment of victims of crime and violence. Moreover, the programme focuses on victim-centered approach to crime and strives towards developing knowledge of victim issues, strengthening resources, addressing needs of the victims, and especially the prevention of secondary victimisation.

“I must applaud civil society groups and communities which have rallied together, not only in support of families which have suffered the loss of their mothers, sisters and children, but also to protect other woman and children in their communities. The protection of women and children is truly a whole-of-society effort, and both men and women play the most critical role,” says Minister Fernandez.

Minister Sharna Fernandez, remains committed to gender-equality and the empowerment of women, which can only be achieved through collaborated efforts, involving all stakeholders in society

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