Count yourself in to end violence against women and children

During the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, government, civil society and non-profit organisations come together to raise awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is an international awareness-raising campaign. It takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day. (Image: SASSA)

Brand South Africa Reporter

The theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children underscores the need for all citizens to work together to end violence in South Africa.

“Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward’ is the core message of the 2014 campaign which runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to 10 December, International Human Rights Day. The period also includes Universal Children’s Day on 30 November and World AIDS Day on 1 December.

South Africa will officially launch its 16 Days of Activism Campaign on 25 November, according to Minister in the Presidency for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe.

“Beyond the 16 Days of Activism, there is a year-long programme which will monitor and evaluate the extent to which lives have improved through the implementation of laws and programmes aimed at eradicating violence against women and children,’ Radebe said updating the media about the campaign on 6 November.

Council on Violence Against Women and Children

This year, South Africa is taking a step further to end violence against women and children by setting up a Council on Violence Against Women and Children. The Council, comprising of key government departments, civil society organisations and other relevant partners, will take on an advisory role and coordinate comprehensive initiatives to stop the scourge.

During the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, government, civil society and non-profit organisations will come together to raise awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse.

16 Days of Activism Campaign achievements

Government says it’s fully committed to leading a coordinated effort to sustain the campaign into its next decade. However, a lot has been done since the launch of the campaign 16 years ago, and the following milestones have been achieved:

  • The Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill which was passed in South African National Assembly earlier this year provides government with the legislative authority to fast-track the empowerment of women and address issues of enforcement and compliance towards the attainment of our target of 50/50 gender parity.
  • Government has also developed a barometer to measure the number of women who will benefit from the five million jobs that government seeks to create in the next 10 years under the New Growth Path. The barometer will highlight the high impact of unemployment on women.
  • Government provides support to children to fight child poverty and provides foster care benefits to over 563 000 vulnerable children. More than 10.5-million children in South Africa benefit from the child support grant.
  • Government provides subsidises to about 800 000 children at early childhood development centres to enable children from poor households to obtain early education. In addition, more than eight million children at primary and secondary schools benefit from school-feeding schemes.
  • On 6 June 2011, Government launched the Strategy and Guidelines on Children Working and Living in the Streets. This Strategy provides guidance on the services provided to children living and working in the streets.
  • The Expanded Public Works Programme and a community works programme provide short-term employment opportunities while also responding to pressing community challenges.
  • The Green Paper on Families seeks to strengthen and support families as the cornerstone of a well-functioning society.
  • In May 2011, government led a national Rural Women’s Summit to empower women with information on how to access various departmental programmes.
  • Since 1994, Government has developed several pieces of legislation to redress the wrongs affecting women and children.

Join in to end violence against women and children

This year government is calling on citizens to support the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. There are numerous ways that individuals can join the campaign. People can:

  • Support the campaign by wearing the white ribbon during the 16-day period to lend their commitment to never commit or condone violence against women and children.
  • Join the cyber dialogues initiative. The cyber dialogues facilitate on-line discussions amongst people to discuss issues related to the abuse of women and children, share experiences and propose solutions. Professional experts in the caring professions (social workers, psychologists, counsellors) and political principals also participate in the on-line chatroom. The discussion takes place in cyber space in chat-room format, with discussions in real time via various access points (Thusong Centres) around the country. Gender Links (an NGO) hosts the cyber dialogues with role players, including Women’s Net, the Gender Advocacy Programme and Department of Communications.
  • Participate in the various 16 Days of Activism events and activities. A calendar outlining events taking place around the country over the period of the 16 days is available .
  • Volunteer in support of non-governmental organisations and community groups who support abused women and children. Many organisations need assistance from the public. You can volunteer your time and make a contribution to the work of institutions.
  • Donate money to organisations working to end violence against women and children by making a contribution to the Foundation for Human Rights. The Foundation receives money raised during the campaign and distributes it to non-governmental organisations. Call 011 339 5560/1/2/3/4/5 to find out more.
  • Speak out against woman and child abuse. Encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse and ensure that they get help.
  • Report child abuse to the police.
  • Encourage children to report bully behaviour to school authorities.
  • Men and boys are encouraged to talk about abuse and actively discourage abusive behaviour.
  • Seek help if you are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to your partner and/or children. Call the Stop Gender Based Violence helpline 0800 150 150.
  • Talk to friends, relatives and colleagues to take a stand against abuse of women and children.
  • Try and understand how your own attitudes and actions might perpetuate sexism and violence.
  • Join community policing forums (CPFs). The community and the local police stations are active partners in ensuring local safety and security. The goal is to bring about effective crime prevention by launching intelligence-driven crime-prevention projects in partnership with the local community.

Where to get help

  • National Crisis Helpline (Lifeline), telephone 0861 322 322
  • Stop Gender-Based Violence Helpline telephone 0800 150 150
  • People Opposed to Women Abuse telephone 011 642 4345
  • Family and Marriage Society of South Africa telephone 012 460 0733
  • National Network on Violence Against Women telephone 012 321 4959
  • Counselling and support for children: Childline telephone 0800 055 555
  • Social Security: Child support grants telephone 0800 601 011
  • Healthcare: Marie Stopes clinics telephone 0800 11 77 85
  • Depression and Anxiety Group telephone 011 783 1474
  • AIDS Helpline telephone 0800 012 322
  • AID for AIDS telephone 0860 100 646
  • Legal assistance: Legal Aid Board telephone 011 845 4311
  • Lawyers for Human Rights telephone 011 339 1960
  • Campaigns for men who support no violence: Men as Partners Project telephone 011 833 0504
  • Sexual Harassment Education Project telephone 011 403 0541
  • Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 011 403 5650
  • South African Police Service telephone 10111
  • Suicide Crisis Line telephone 0800 567 567

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