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Blaming government for GBV a ‘convenient’ narrative, says dept

Government cannot be blamed for the persistent scourge of gender-based violence (GBV), the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has protested, charging that this was a convenient narrative.

The Citizen has reported how women suffer in silence as government pays lip service to the terror, with criticisms that the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children activism has failed to protect women.

Advocacy groups have lamented that results indicate policies and programmes aimed at protecting women were simply reserved for podiums and never implemented.

The department’s Shalen Gajadhar disagreed, saying one of the major achievements was the raised awareness around GBV, which she said had been a “private” issue for a long time.

“[Gender-based violence and femicide] was considered a private matter or a domestic matter. We had to move the issue into the public consciousness.

Gajadhar said the department is also working with the SA Police Services’ (Saps) Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit and Forensic Services Units in tracking progress in clearing DNA backlogs, speeding up processes in analysing samples, establishing new laboratories, and accrediting private labs to assist.

He added that whilst the police were working on addressing the backlog on DNA sample processing to finalise rape cases, they were concerned that this allowed perpetrators to walk free.

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