Saartjie Baartman Centre: More families reporting domestic abuse

This comes as the annual 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaign was launched.

FILE: The Saartjie Baartman Centre is a centre for women and children who are survivors of abuse. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children says it has already seen an increase in families seeking help to deal with domestic abuse.

The organisation hosted a panel discussion on children's exposure to violence on Thursday.

The centre's Dorothea Gertse says: “Usually we see fewer women coming in at this time of year. However, this year there’s an increase of people coming to the centre and reporting continuous abuse.”

This comes as the annual 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaign was launched.

The national activism campaign was officially launched last week.

Government has called on men to lead change within communities.

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Basic Education Director-General Hurbert Mathanzima Mweli says: “It is sad that today, some members of our communities are yet to internalise the fact that the rights of women and children are the same and equal to those of men, and that the abuse, especially violence is unlawful.”

Mweli was speaking at a social protection, community and human development cluster media briefing on Thursday, in Tshwane.

The director-general has called on citizens to engage in dialogues around the root causes of a violent society, in order to end violence against women and children.

“The National Development Plan envisions a South African society in 2030 that would embrace its diversity across the contours of race, class, gender, religion, culture and other social constructions.”

Support systems like a 24-hour Gender Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) are in place for victims to report incidents of abuse.

The GBVCC toll-free number is 0800 428 428, alternatively SMS Please Call Me to 120 7867#, SMS Help to 31531 or Skype: HelpMeGBV.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)