African Monitor (AM) and UN Women South Africa launch GBV citizens survey using mobile technology
Monday, 29 June 2020
Following the reported increase of Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases during the COVID-19 national lockdown, African Monitor (AM), in partnership with UN Women South Africa, is conducting a GBV Citizens Survey during this period.
The GBV Citizens Survey is a research project that uses mobile technology innovatively to undertake a rapid appraisal to assess the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown period in South Africa on GBV incidents.
The survey is meant to measure the extent of violence against women, as well as knowledge, access and utilisation of essential services for survivors of GBV during lockdown. Using a USSD survey and offering a`irtime incentive, the research will be undertaken in all nine provinces. For individuals to take part, they are required to dial *134*8621# at no cost, after which they get R10 airtime upon completion of the survey. The survey is open to people who are 18 years or older.
Mrs Ann Githuku-Shongwe, Head of UN Women Southern Africa, said the survey is one way of helping to tackle GBV during the lockdown, which has become another pandemic in our society during this unprecedented period.
“This survey will help us measure the extent of violence against women; and it will help us to assess if women have knowledge, access and utilisation of essential services when they need them,” said Githuku-Shongwe.
She emphasised that that addressing GBV is a significant issue that requires multi-faceted responses and commitment from all stakeholders, including government, civil society and other citizens.
The prevalence of GBV is difficult to measure since available data is only limited to those who report, and those who seek help. However, in an environment where women are confined with likely perpetrators, it is expected that the number of those who are able to seek help is far less than those who are actually affected.
The increase in GBV during the lockdown has been linked to mainly women and children from abusive families being in confined to their homes with perpetrators and being unable to leave, escape or reach out for help. Official reports show that within the first week alone of the current lockdown, South African Police Services (SAPS) received 2 320 complaints of GBV (which are only the reported cases), with only 148 related charges laid. These statistics represent a 37% increase from the weekly average of South African GBV cases reported for 2019.
In the recent weeks, the nation has heard of the brutal killings of several women and children by men during the lockdown. This includes the recent deaths of – among others – Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Nomfazi Gabada, Nwabisa Mgwandela, Altecia Kortjie and Lindelwa Peni, all young women who were killed by men during the lockdown period.
ISSUED BY: African Monitor. For more information, contact Joyce Moholola on 082 974 9222 or Yared Tsegay on 072 208 4452.