SPU launches Gender-Based Violence Awareness Campaign

The Sol Plaatje University (SPU) Health & Wellness Centre, in collaboration with the SPU Legal Office, will launch its Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Awareness Campaign on Wednesday, 30 March 2022.

The campaign is a collaboration between key external stakeholders including Lifeline, Thuthuzela Care Centres, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The flagship GBV programme will run throughout the year and will include valuable information and resources related to GBV for students.

The campaign’s first hybrid (face-to-face and online) event will take place on 30 March 2022 in the Library Auditorium, with special guest and keynote speaker Mr Trevor Moleme. The event will encompass a discussion surrounding various themes related to GBV, including intimate partner violence (IPV), victim support, and community resources available at the Department of Social Development and at SPU. Special guest Ms Caroline Peters, a GBV survivor, will speak about the psychological impact of GBV.

Subsequent sessions following the launch of the programme will include a discussion and dialogue facilitated by a speaker from the Thuthuzela Care Centre, who will speak about the sexual-violence support services offered by the centre. Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) are one-stop facilities that were introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti-rape strategy to reduce secondary victimisation, build cases that are ready for successful prosecution, improve conviction rates, and reduce the cycle time for the finalisation of cases. The Thuthuzela project is led by the NPA’s Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit in partnership with various departments and donors as a response to the urgent need for an integrated strategy for prevention, response, and support for rape victims. Since its establishment the unit has been working to develop best practices and policies that seek to eradicate the victimisation of women and children, while improving prosecution, particularly regarding sexual offences, maintenance, child justice, and domestic violence.

As part of the greater GBV awareness which the programme aims to create, the last session in this series will feature a speaker from the NPA, who will discuss GBV legislation and protective measures that can be instituted by courts in South Africa. One of the interesting aspects the speaker will discuss is the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998, which came into effect on 15 December 1999. The Act provides for the issuing of protection orders for domestic violence and related matters if the remedies available to victims of domestic violence have proved to be ineffective. The aim of this Act is to afford victims of domestic violence the maximum protection from domestic abuse that the law can provide, and to introduce measures that seek to ensure that the relevant organs of the state give full effect to the provisions of the Act, thereby conveying the message that the state is committed to the elimination of the scourge of domestic violence.

The campaign event will end with an unveiling ceremony for a Wall of Remembrance in honour of women and children who have lost their lives to GBV. This display will remain on SPU’s Central Campus from the time of unveiling until the end of the 2022 academic year.

Written by