High prevalence rates and a broken justice system leave victims of gender-based violence vulnerable to further abuse.
South Africa has some of the highest prevalence rates of gender-based violence (GBV) in the world. Research conducted in Diepsloot in 2016, the informal settlement where LvA works, revealed that 56% of men surveyed had committed physical or sexual violence against a woman in the past 12 months, with one third admitting to using both physical and sexual violence. These prevalence rates are more than double those in other parts of the country.
One of the main reasons for the continued violence is the failure of the justice system in GBV cases. These failures create an environment where perpetrators of violence are not held accountable for their actions. Despite strong laws, victims rarely see justice due to severe deficiencies in implementation by local state actors. For example, research shows that a perpetrator is arrested in only 58% of reported rape cases, only 18.5% of these cases ever go to trial and only 8.6% of these cases end in a conviction. GBV victims are often further victimised when seeking justice by discriminatory police attitudes, victim blaming and the traumatic and adversarial courtroom environment.
Without comprehensive support services, GBV victims are expected to navigate this complex and often hostile legal process alone. Furthermore, the complexities of the trauma associated with violence and the negative impact on the psychological wellbeing of victims create further obstacles for victims in accessing justice. In most cases, victims have no one to turn to for help when the system fails them.
Our programmes are designed with these needs in mind.
LvA fills this gap using an integrated approach that responds holistically to GBV victims’ legal, psychological and emotional needs, while partnering with local state actors to increase accountability and enforcement of GBV legislation.