SU to host conference to showcase latest research on family violence in SA

Wednesday, 25 November is the first day of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in South Africa, an annual awareness campaign about gender violence in our country. On this day, Stellenbosch University is convening a research / community organisations / policy making colloquium to showcase latest South African family violence work. Family violence as a social crisis will form the focus of intersectoral discussion and collaboration.

The event has grown on the back of groundbreaking interdisciplinary doctoral work which engaged with the primary health care sector in urban and rural regions of the Western Cape Province, and developed effective ways of addressing intimate partner violence within current systems using existing resources.

An important element of our country’s Constitution, which underwrites the new democratic South Africa, is the equal position it accords to women. However, extremely high levels of gender-based violence, poverty and HIV infection among women reveal a chasm between the daily lives of female citizens and our apparent gains in the public sphere. While South African women enjoy equality on paper, the reality is disappointing in practice.

In a national study of female homicide in South Africa, Mathews et al. (2004) found that where relationship status could be established, 1 in every 2 women killed by a known perpetrator was killed by an intimate partner. This gives South Africa the highest reported intimate femicide rate in the world: 9 per 100 000 women (Krug et al., 2007; South African Comparative Risk Assessment Collaborating group, 2007). The study concludes that in South Africa, a woman is killed by her current or ex-intimate partner every six hours (Mathews et al., 2004).

The colloquium aims to constructively address the crisis of family violence in our country.  It also aims to promote intersectoral dialogue and participation amongst all stakeholders: health, justice and social development policy makers, community organisations and safety forums, police, educators, health managers, health care providers, academics, students and other con­cerned citizens. A key focus will be on finding ways to work together better to constructively problem solve around this issue.

To register – visit www.consultus.co.za before or on 11 November 2009.

For enquiries contact Suné van Rooyen on 021 938 9245.