South Africa, November 2011: Observing 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

South Africa 16 Days 
USAID’s Justice Sector Strengthening Program in South Africa is working to strengthen court administration and managment, and support justice sector institutions to facilitate the prosecution and adjudiciation of sexual offences. In observance of the Global 16 Days Campaign Against Gender Violence,  the project team worked with the National Prosecuting Authority to organize the release of a press statement in connection with the campaign and conduct  interviews on two national radio stations to raise awareness about efforts to prosecute perpetrators of gender-based violence and care for victims.     

 South Africa has been participating in the 16 days of activism campaign since 1999 and has put forth substantial efforts to counter gender violence.  The Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) unit of the National Prosecuting Authority was established in 1999 as a specialised unit against violence against women and children. To commemorate the 16 days campaign, Adv. Thoko Majokweni, Special Director of the SOCA unit, stated “Though we still have a long way to go, SOCA—with its stakeholders—has contributed significantly towards ensuring justice for South Africa’s significant number of victims of sexual abuse and gender-based violence.”

Thuthuzela Care Centres have been established as one-stop shops for victims services that provide care and treatment to victims of sexual and gender-based violence, and integrate the services of police, social services, health and the prosecuting authority. The Care Center model has been recognized internationally as a best practice and several countries in the region have expressed desire to replicate the model and learn from South Africa. USAID and other donors have actively supported the efforts as essential steps to empower women by facilitating access to justice services.