Action Society has joined calls for lockdown to be scrapped in its entirety. The longer lockdown continues, the more people will become victims of gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa.
“Although South Africa is now on alert level one, there are still lockdown regulations which pose restrictions on an already strained justice system. Government needs to end the state of disaster so that women have ‘full’ access to shelters, support services, and police protection,” says Ian Cameron, spokesperson for Action Society.
In the majority of cases, victims of GBV know the perpetrators and these cases are often seen as incidents of domestic violence, so police officers dismiss these cases as they are perceived as family matters and not crimes.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) reported that within the first week of the lockdown, the SAPS received 2,300 calls for help related to GBV. By mid-June 2020, 21 women and children had been killed by intimate partners in the country. This is an increase of 30% measured to the same period in 2019.
“With the restriction of movement, individuals are confined within their homes and for many that home is a place of abuse. Because of the lockdown, companies are not operating fully, a lot of people are working from home or on a rotational basis and most had to take salary cuts – all of these circumstances place immense pressure on families. Without the lockdown, women would be able to go to work to escape this abuse at home. The lockdown has affected the job market and the livelihood of women, the lockdown needs to end now,” concludes Cameron.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 4 October 2021