Our #HelpingHandsSGBV campaign looks at how Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) in South Africa affects children and adults from other countries. For non-South Africans, there can be extra barriers to reporting SGBV – but there are similarities in their experiences too. #HelpingHandsSGBV aims to provide information on how to better understand, report and get help on issues of SGBV in South Africa.
What is SGBV?
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is violence directed at an individual based on their sex or gender. SGBV may take many forms including physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence. While all genders may be affected by SGBV, the majority of victims and survivors are women and girls.
It’s often reported that South Africa has some of the highest SGBV rates in the world. Further, research indicates that as few as 1/13 rapes are reported to the police and many incidents of intimate partner violence (IPV) may be recorded as assault.
It is difficult to provide accurate data for how many migrant women and children are affected by SGBV. There are many barriers that those trying to report SGBV and IPV have highlighted when trying to access services. Barriers to reporting of SGBV and IPV by migrant women and children include lack of proper documentation, language barriers, or xenophobia.
Child asylum seekers and refugees may be especially vulnerable to SGBV during migration, particularly unaccompanied or separated migrant children, according to the UNHCR. Detained children, child soldiers, children with disabilities, working children, and children born to rape victims and survivors are all at a heightened risk of SGBV during the migration process. SGBV against boys is also under-reported and under acknowledged.
Organisations you can contact
This is a list of some organisations in South Africa that can support people affected by SGBV.
Members of LGBTQI+ communities may be at a higher risk of experiencing SGBV if they are seen as failing to conform to prescribed gender expectations and roles or as a result of homophobia and/or transphobia. LGBTQI+ children and youth may be particularly vulnerable if they are also lacking family and community support or protection.
The Fruit Basket offers referral services for LGBTQI+ migrants of any age, including legal and counseling referrals.
Childline has a toll-free telephone counseling line. This helpline is free from any network and operates 24/7. This helpline is for children and for adults with concerns about children. You can call this number in an emergency situation or it allows children to talk about their concerns and issues that directly affect them. Childline provides counselling to their callers and in an emergency situation they can refer you to a social worker ( Department of Social Development/ Child Welfare).
If you need to contact the toll free helpline the number is 08 000 55 555 or access their website here for more information.
Thuthuzela Care Centre is a one stop facility that has been introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti-rape strategy. Thuthuzela’s integrated approach to rape care is one of respect, comfort, restoring dignity and ensuring justice for children, women and men who are victims of sexual violence. When reporting, the rape victim is removed from crowds and intimidating environments, such as at the police station, to a more victim-friendly environment before being transported by police to the Thuthuzela care centre at the hospital. Enroute, the survivor receives comfort and crisis counselling from a trained Counsellors. Read more about the Thuthuzela Care Centres and their locations here
Thuthuzela Care Centres in the Western Cape:
- Karl Bremer Hospital: 021 918 1321
- Heideveld Day Hospital: 021 699 3246
- Victoria Hospital forensic unit: 021 799 1111/1235
- Khayelitsha District Hospital: 021 360 4570
Rape Crisis offer support to people who have experienced or been affected by sexual violence. You can call their 24-hour helpline on 021 447 9762.
Rape Crisis have also published a useful guide to knowing your rights and services if you have experienced sexual violence.
Adonis Must offers peer support programs, counseling and social services. Services are in English, with translations available for French, Swahili, Lingala, Kirundi, Shona, and Chichewa
Contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.adonismusatiproject.org.
The Scalabrini Centre offers welfare support, counselling and legal advice. The Women’s Platform at Scalabrini has a Personal Development course as well as skills training.