WESTERN CAPE NEWS - In a media statement, premier Alan Winde said "It is a day to celebrate the women in our lives, but we must also take a long hard look at the way society treats women and girls.
"Today we celebrate Women’s Day and the remarkable contribution that the women of this country have made throughout our history.
"This year again, we have seen so many women and girls fall victim to gender based violence, and domestic violence and it cannot be allowed to go on. So my message on this Women’s Day is to the men in our society: we need to do better. We need to be better. And we need to raise our sons to be better.
"As men, we must never remain silent in the face of discrimination and violence. As a society, we must raise our boys to treat women as equals and instill values of respect in them and we must raise our girls with the knowledge that they are powerful, that they are worthy and above all, that they are equal.
"Today we remember and we mourn those women whose lives have been cut short by violence in this province and this country.
"I also want to thank the women of this province who are making a valuable contribution to our society at this time: healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, teachers, social workers and those women in our communities who are fighting for justice, mentoring young people, who are patrolling the streets as neighbourhood watch members, feeding the needy, and so much more.
"The Western Cape has a number of programmes in place aimed at ensuring that women and girls are safe, and have access to opportunities to learn, to develop and to work.
"Some of our programmes around safety and gender based violence include:
- The Western Cape Safety Plan, which is being rolled out in departments across the Western Cape Government with a focus on violence prevention. The aim is to reduce the murder rate by half over a ten-year period, but it also includes programs aimed at reducing gender based violence and supporting victims of gender based violence and domestic abuse.
- The Department of Community Safety has tasked Advocate Leslie Morris to monitor gender based violence and domestic violence cases in the Court Watching Brief Unit. He will be monitoring and reporting on cases which had been struck off the court roll due to inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in the criminal justice system.
- The Department has also drawn up a useful information guide on how to apply for a protection order, and held community workshops detailing how to secure a protection order, and contacting your nearest police station.
- The provincial Department of Social Development currently funds 20 shelters in the Western Cape that can accommodate victims and their children for up to 3 months, and 4 emergency shelters that accommodate victims for up to 3 weeks.
- Shelters provide for basic needs that include: safe accommodation, protection, food, clothing and emotional support such as trauma debriefing and therapeutic counselling provided by a social worker. To assist with reintegration, victims are also provided with skills development opportunities to assist with the economic empowerment of the victim.
- The Department has this week completed online trauma support training for housemothers in our funded shelters.
- The training covers the definition of trauma and violence, the basics of trauma support, trauma responses, interventions (including protection orders, psychological first aid, support groups) and also how to care for yourself as a trauma support worker.
- The Department of Social Development’s Victim Empowerment Programme offers a variety of services to support victims which include:
-ensuring that victims receive emotional and practical support,
-assisting victims with the management of trauma,
-ensuring that victims are educated to identify the symptoms of post-traumatic stress,
-referring victims to professional services where necessary,
-provision of court support services during the criminal justice process is dealt with efficiently,
-promoting the rights and responsibilities of victims through advocacy
-ensuring that victims are aware of their rights,
-ensuring that ongoing victimisation is prevented
-providing a shelter service
- The Department of Education has also included a number of programmes at educating learners about gender based violence, and protecting them while at school.
Some of these programmes include an anti-gender based violence campaign undertaken by 14 schools in the Overberg region, a gender based violence webinar conducted by the eLearning directorate and self-defence training for teachers in the metro-central region.
- The Department’s Safe Schools holiday programming creates safe spaces and activities for children during the holidays and includes content on gender-based violence, sexual abuse and gender equality to empower learners.
- Learners, staff and parents can also report gender based violence, and all forms of abuse to the Safe Schools hotline on 080045 46 47.
- The Western Cape Sanitary Dignity project, operated by the Department of Social Development will begin its first deliveries this month, with schools in the Cape Winelands district identified for the first delivery. The majority of learners will return to school on 12 August. Women and girls attending quintile 1,2, and 3 schools will benefit, although the project may be expanded into other quintiles. Approximately 90 000 learners will benefit at a maximum of 222 schools across the province.
"Our departments have also been working to create opportunities for women.
"The Department of Education holds an annual Female Principals Conference to support the leadership roles played by women in our schools. The Cape Teaching and Learning Institute also offers courses for female educators aspiring to leadership and management roles in schools.
"Three of the top four executive positions in the provincial Department of Human Settlements are women- including the HOD, the chief director for planning and the chief director for implementation.
"The Department has also set a goal of at least 30% women-owned companies working on projects. There is still more work to be done, with the department so far only having achieved 13%.
"In order to help address this, the Department has ensured that at least 50% of its Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) is allocated to Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s), and for this current financial year, it is no different.
"The Department of Community Safety, in partnership with the Chrysalis Academy, are launching a project to support women graduates who are actively providing a service in their communities, with a focus around gender based violence projects. They will provide training and mentorship to these graduates in order to strengthen their community work. Chrysalis Alumni graduates from 2000-2019 can apply by emailing a summary of the work your project does to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 August 2020."
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