The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has called on the research community to step up efforts to understand the root causes of gender-based violence. This follows a recent string of crimes against women and children resulting in several members of the public calling for harsher sentences for perpetrators.

South Africans have also taken to social media using the #AmINext- to call for criminal justice reform.

HSRC’s CEO, Crain Soudien, says policies to combat the scourge must be developed through thorough research.

“It’s important for the research community to be coming together because we don’t have a deep understanding of what’s going on and what are the causes of what’s happening. And this is a matter of national urgency.

“You can’t give it a policy on the basis of people’s opinions. So we need to have a deep understanding of what’s going on in people’s houses, the situations people find themselves in on the streets,” says Soudien.