How much does government really do for victims of gender based violence?

I guess one way of finding out is to ask who pays. I’m afraid ‘follow the money’ is a bit of a mantra for me. Don’t tell me how much you care – tell me what you do. Or how much you spend.

If I said to you that government covers two percent of the cost of gender based violence in South Africa, you’d be startled right? 16 Days of Activism, the National Council on Gender Based Violence, a 24-hour Command Centre dedicated to provide support and counselling to victims of gender based violence…surely that adds up to a lot more than two percent?

Zimbini - a rape survivor

Actually not. The cost of gender based violence in South Africa amounts to over R 28 billion, and represents 0.9 percent of the country’s GDP for 2012. Victims carry 90 percent of that cost. So what does the government’s two percent do? What are the big ticket items?

Not specialised Sexual Offences Courts. We know they are one of the best hopes of getting cases to court and getting convictions. When they work well with their surrounding communities and collaborate with a local NGO like the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust to offer related psychosocial care they are one of the best ways of reducing secondary trauma to victims. In the Ministerial Advisory Task Team on the adjudication of Sexual Offences (MATTSO), the Task Team reported that only 15 Sexual Offences Courts are functional.  There are supposed to be at least 276.

The roll out of 57 new courts are planned across the country. [1] The cost per court is R3.8 million per court, per year. There is R22 million budgeted for the first 22 courts. That’s enough for 6 courts, not 22 courts. Show me the money, people. Talk is cheap.

Alison Tilley

Alison Tilley is an attorney, and the head of advocacy at the Open Democracy Advice Centre, which is a law centre based in South Africa, specialising in access to information and whistleblowing law. The Centre works on these transparency issues across

[1] The cost of Justice in South Africa: Tracking Expenditure on Gender based violence in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Joy Watson February 2014 Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. Pg 7

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About rapecrisisblog

We have a vision of a South Africa in which rape survivors suffer no secondary trauma, and are supported throughout their interaction with the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Our mission is to promote an end to violence against women, specifically rape, and to assist women to achieve their right to live free from violence. Rape Crisis Cape Town seeks to achieve its mission through counselling and training of women, thereby reducing the trauma experienced by rape survivors, and encouraging reporting of rape and the conviction of rapists.

One thought on “How much does government really do for victims of gender based violence?

  1. The only time government opens their mouths is during 16 days or when the violence is so deplorable it cannot be ignored. Think Booysens. While police are still under trained as well as some police stations still sending victims away! We need so much more than just a proper justice system. Government needs to start help providing a better starting block.

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