The Commission for Gender Equality wants a complete overall of Gender-Based Violence data collection. The commission hosted a Webinar on Friday with a number of stakeholders, including the police and researchers, on statistics that look at Gender-Based Violence during the lockdown.
Concern was raised that there’s no capacity for effective stats collection.
Experts on gender issues believe that Gender-Based Violence increased during the lockdown, but statistics coming out of government departments and non-governmental organisations are not giving a clear picture of the situation.
In the webinar, the Gender Commission raised concerns that various government departments were quoting different statistics, some claiming that Gender-Based Violence went down while others said it had spiked.
The commission Chairperson Tamara Mathebula says the problem is capacity. “There were reports of increased GBV; there were reports of increased domestic violence in South Africa. There has been an absence of institutional capacity to generate relevant and accurate statistics of Gender-Based Violence and this absence of institutional capacity has made things worse in terms of making sure we sit down and plan as a country on how to effectively respond.”
In a report, the commission has put together on GBV under lockdown, it recommended a review of the way in which statistics are recorded and classified.
Commissioner Dibeela Mothupi says GBV shouldn’t be bundled with other crimes such as assault as is currently the case.
“Therefore, there is a need for GBV to be clearly separated from other assault cases. It’s not clear if South African police cover incidents of human trafficking. Therefore, the need arises for reporting to include human trafficking as well.”
She has called for a centralised database that will ensure that the data is suitably classified and accessible.
Ester Maluleke from the Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities advocated for a prevalence study to give a clear picture of the GBV problem. She says her department has worked on a strategy that focuses on prevention.
“As a country, when we moved to lockdown Level 3, we began to see cases escalating, especially of femicide, let alone other types of violence. At the last count when the president made an announcement at some point, he indicated that just in June more than 20 women were killed.”
Maluleke has also highlighted that because Gender-Based Violence reporting was not classified as an essential service, women found it difficult to report their cases, especially those in rural areas.