Call for a review of National Strategic Plan on GBVF

South African children have reiterated a call for the review of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (NSP-GBVF).

The call was made during consultations with children on Pillar 7 of the NSP on GBVF, held simultaneously in Limpopo, the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.

The Department of Social Development has been on the road consulting children on the NSP-GBVF – the country’s blueprint document to combat Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.

This follows a call by children during the Presidential GBVF Summit held last year, that the document should have Pillar 7, which will specifically look at violence against children.

During the summit, the children expressed their dissatisfaction about adults speaking on their behalf.

The NSP-GBVF currently has six pillars namely:

• Accountability, coordination and leadership;

• Prevention and Rebuilding;

• Justice, Safety and Protection;

• Response, Care Support and healing;

• Economic Power; and

• Research and Information.

During consultations, the children noted that the document is not child friendly, and does not include children and men.

The children believe that the “gender” in gender-based violence indirectly means women, and not children and boys.

They challenged the drafters to look into the document and count how many times children are mentioned.

“Maybe instead of a pillar, there should be a strategic document on how to deal with violence against children, seeing that adults have already drafted their own,” 17-year-old Rebecca Smith said.

The children also raised concern on the document being written only in English, noting that they do not think that their communities even know what “gender-based violence” is.

“The seventh pillar must all be about us – the children,” said Mondli Mncandi.

Patience Sibande (17) said she had to continue consulting her dictionary because of the difficulty in terminology and language used.

“We don’t understand it, and it excludes us as children from the rural areas,” she said.

The children also pointed out that while the drafters of the document may think that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA) community is mentioned, the document glosses over their issues and it does not understand [what] children who are of a different sexuality go through.

“The document is sound but lacks inclusivity in the sense that it only mentions the LGBTQIA community towards the end, the document should include them throughout,” said 16-year-old Northern Cape Child Ambassador Shareez James.

The department started the consultations last week with the children from Gauteng and the Western Cape.

“The consultative sessions seek to ensure that children have an opportunity to express their views on the NSP-GBVF and how their issues can find expression in the document. The Children’s Act encourages the right for children to participate in all matters affecting them,” the department said.

The consultations will continue in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga on 23 September 2023.

Upon the conclusion of the consultations, the inputs from children will be submitted to the national steering committee responsible for the NSP-GBVF so that a decision can be made on whether to include Pillar 7, as asked by the children.

Source: South African Government News Agency