The Western Cape Department of Community Safety yesterday launched the department’s safety campaign as part of the16 Days of Activism Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children. The campaign was officially launched in Heinz Park, Philippi, and aims to help empower those affected by abuse to speak out.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat, MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato explains that the department is calling on all women to speak out and report abuse perpetrated against women and children to the South African Police Service (SAPS), drawing on the department’s 2016 theme: Speak Out, Silence to Strength.
He says that every year, the department becomes more cognizant of the fact that the issue needs to be addressed within the community in order to assist in breaking shackles of fear that imprisoned victims.
As part of the department’s 2016 campaign, the minister will visit 12 areas, identified jointly by the department and the SAPS, including Bonteheuwel, Heideveld, Delft, and Khayelitsha.
“We are joined by NGO’s; such as Irish House and Nicro, supporting the major drive through the various communities and the public will have the opportunity to engage with them and they will learn what the department can provide,” Plato elaborated.
Given the prevalence of gender-based violence within the Western Cape, Plato says that the department is using the 16 Days of Activism as a means to impart necessary information with parents about struggles that victims of sexual violence face and to educate them about rehabilitation facilities available to them.
“Yesterday in Heinz Park we were told about abusive households in the area and we learnt a lot about the problems in the community. But, many times it’s not only about physical abuse and that is why we will have information tables at all of the events.”
Plato added that the department has noted issues relating to slow response time by law enforcement officials in cases of domestic abuse and affirmed that the department is working to address concerns of residents.
“We will not know what the problems are facing the communities if our staff members act slowly. So, the drive will assist us to get the sense of what the public’s impression about the services that they receive so that we can report to our officials and inform them about what they should do when they receive a distress call from a member of the community,” he continued.