The Western Cape Department of Community Safety kick-started its campaign for the annual 16 Days of Activism this past weekend, leading awareness marches through the streets of Tafelsig and Beacon Valley. The initiative seeks to educate community members about the scourge of domestic violence and child abuse, which has been on the rise in the Cape Flats. The areas in question are considered notable hotspots for violence against women and children.
The campaign is being conducted in collaboration with the Mitchell’s Plain Community Policing Forum (CPF), who has reaffirmed their determination to tackle the issue through five key performance areas. These areas focus on the safety of women, youth, those with disabilities, senior citizens, and young children.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat on Monday, CPF chairperson Abbie Isaacs welcomed the department’s proactive stance in addressing violence and abuse, praising the success of the marches. He said Saturday’s events would kick-off a month long awareness drive, which would specifically focus on areas where such incidents were rife.
“From our side we will continue in terms of awareness raising, marches, and educating our society around domestic violence,” he noted.
“We will be calling on our faith-based organizations to assist and join us in these marches, so we can begin to sensitize our community.”
Across the Cape Flats, domestic violence and child abuse have been increasingly noted amongst those in the youth bracket, and Isaacs acknowledged that they were aware of this trend. In a bid to curb violence amongst the youth, he said the CPF had launched a youth hiking club just prior to Saturday’s proceedings.
“Through the hiking process we would be able to instill discipline, and other things that are related to domestic violence. Again we are appealing for the department, business, and civil society to join us in this fight against crime,” he urged.
He suspected such incidents may be linked to congestion within households across the Cape Flats, with several housing multiple families in one residence. This meant that family disputes were now harder to keep under wraps, and arguments were now being conducted in full view of children.
The Mitchell’s Plain CPF will be conducting a workshop on the symptoms of domestic violence next this coming Saturday. The programme will be specifically targeted towards CPF volunteers, with several experts on the issue expected to be in attendance. Marches and awareness programmes are also expected for the duration of the next month. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)