Confronting the Horror of Gender Violence: Discussions at the National Shelter Symposium

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The National Shelter Symposium is a crucial event in the fight against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), hosted by the National Shelter Movement South Africa and the Department of Social Development. GBVF is a prevalent issue in South Africa, affecting women, children, and marginalized communities the most. The government has allocated over R211 million to finance 134 shelters nationwide, providing victims with shelter, essential services, and psychosocial support. The National Shelter Symposium is a call to action, bringing together stakeholders, experts, and professionals to collaborate and find solutions to combat GBVF.

Collaborative Efforts to Battle Gender-Based Violence and Femicide

The Department of Social Development, working in alliance with the National Shelter Movement South Africa, plays an invaluable role in combating Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. Through the execution of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide’s Pillar 4, they focus on Response, Care, Support, and Healing, which can only be successfully accomplished through collaboration with other sectors and stakeholders.

Decisive Confrontation against Gender Violence

The Minister of Social Development alongside the National Shelter Movement South Africa (NSMSA) preside over the 3rd National Shelter Symposium, scheduled for the 21st and 22nd of November. This essential assembly seeks to address the increasingly rampant incidents of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF)—a situation so prevalent, it is dubbed the nation’s secondary pandemic.

The National Shelter Symposium plays a pivotal role in battling GBVF. This year, it is centred around the theme “Actualization of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide”. This signifies the urgent need to transform policy blueprints into concrete actions and measurable results. This endeavour goes beyond a mere conference—it is a strategic battleground against an enduring crisis.

GBVF, deeply rooted in a male-dominated system, is visible in various socio-economic and cultural behavioural practices. It is an ominous presence lurking in the recesses of inequality, poverty, racism, gender imbalance, and resistance to gender diversity. Disturbingly, those with the least societal power end up as the unfortunate casualties—women, children, the disabled, and the LGBTQIA+ community. They endure the worst of this scourge, often succumbing to violence from those they trust the most.

Collaborative Efforts to Battle GBVF

The Department of Social Development, working in alliance with the NSMSA, plays an invaluable role in combating GBVF. The department spearheads the execution of the NSP-GBVF’s Pillar 4, which focuses on Response, Care, Support, and Healing. This mission can only be successfully accomplished through collaboration with other sectors and stakeholders, underlining the necessity for a cross-sectoral approach.

During the latest financial cycle, the department assigned over R211 million to finance 134 shelters nationwide across a four-year span. These shelters offer more than just shelter; they furnish a range of services for GBVF victims. Here, victims receive lodging, clothes, transportation, food, essential life skills, and psychosocial services. Support, counselling, play therapy, and therapeutic treatments form part of the holistic care these shelters provide, facilitating the healing and recovery of victims.

The National Shelter Symposium: A Promise of a Better Tomorrow

The National Shelter Symposium serves as a forum for expert discourse, bringing together representatives from governmental bodies, shelter organizations, stakeholders, professionals, and specialists in mental health and trauma-informed care. The panel discussions aim to explore a range of subjects such as LGBTQIA+ awareness, integration in shelters, children in shelters, the intersection of GBV and substance misuse, updates on the state of shelters, and training for housemothers.

The collaboration between the Department of Social Development and NSMSA is commendable. Their joint aim is to nurture a cross-sectoral approach to combat GBVF. Indeed, the National Shelter Symposium is a stride in achieving this goal. It goes beyond a mere event—it is a rallying cry to action.

As the country awaits the outcomes of the Symposium, the media is encouraged to participate and report this significant event. It is an appeal to the government, non-governmental organizations, business professionals, and also the media to contribute in addressing this issue.

Undeniably, the National Shelter Symposium provides more than an opportunity to discuss the grievous problem of GBVF; it offers a glimpse of hope for those who have been silenced. It is a chance to shed light on paths of change, where every woman, child, disabled person, and member of the LGBTQIA+ community can exist in a world devoid of the fear of violence. This is the assurance of the National Shelter Symposium — a pledge of a brighter, safer tomorrow.

1. What is the National Shelter Symposium?

The National Shelter Symposium is an event hosted by the National Shelter Movement South Africa and the Department of Social Development to combat Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF). It brings together stakeholders, experts, and professionals to collaborate and find solutions to combat GBVF.

2. What is GBVF?

GBVF stands for Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which is a prevalent issue in South Africa, affecting women, children, and marginalized communities the most. GBVF is deeply rooted in a male-dominated system and is visible in various socio-economic and cultural behavioural practices.

3. What is the focus of the National Strategic Plan on GBVF’s Pillar 4?

The National Strategic Plan on GBVF’s Pillar 4 focuses on Response, Care, Support, and Healing. It aims to transform policy blueprints into concrete actions and measurable results to combat GBVF.

4. What services do the shelters funded by the Department of Social Development provide?

The shelters funded by the Department of Social Development provide victims of GBVF with shelter, essential services, and psychosocial support. They offer more than just shelter; they furnish a range of services for GBVF victims, including lodging, clothes, transportation, food, essential life skills, support, counselling, play therapy, and therapeutic treatments.

5. What are the themes discussed at the National Shelter Symposium?

The themes discussed at the National Shelter Symposium include LGBTQIA+ awareness, integration in shelters, children in shelters, the intersection of GBV and substance misuse, updates on the state of shelters, and training for housemothers.

6. What is the purpose of the National Shelter Symposium?

The purpose of the National Shelter Symposium is to combat Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) through collaboration with other sectors and stakeholders. It serves as a forum for expert discourse and a rallying cry to action, providing a glimpse of hope for those who have been silenced and a pledge of a brighter, safer tomorrow.

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