Government Determined To Curb Gender Based Violence At Universities


Incidents of Gender-Based Violence at higher education institutions remain an ongoing concern that urgently needs to be addressed and researched. Government has put additional measures in place that aims to curb these incidents at the country’s universities.



Over the past few years, Higher Education and Training institutions in South Africa have been experiencing a surge in the frequency of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) incidents.

According to a recent Higher Health study, 62% of students in South Africa consider themselves at high risk of gender-based violence, while the same goes for 60% of the service staff and 71% of academic staff at institutions across the country.

Higher Health chief executive Ramneek Ahluwalia stressed that Gender-based violence is the country’s “most complicated pandemic”.

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande says the unfortunate incidents of gender-based violence at universities are of great concern.

Violence, in general, was also a concern, for example, the accounting student at the University of the Western Cape.

While government measures to combat GBV at universities are ongoing, the Minister has been engaging universities on the minimum norms and standards of safety and security required to secure a safe environment on campus for students. 

Earlier this year, Nzimande announced the launch of the “Transforming MENtalities Initiative”. The programme aims to focus on mobilising men in the sector to become champions for a world free of gender biases, stereotypes, violence and discrimination.

Nzimande noted that the programme would be carried out through a multistakeholder partnership within the Post School Education and Training (PSET) and will seek to address toxic masculinity within the sector.

The Minister also announced that a task team would be formed to implement the initiative, as part of the many initiatives tasked with addressing gender-based violence.

However, the department acknowledged there is still much work to be done to effectively address GBV and ensure the safety and well-being of all students and staff members. 

They added, “Maybe the universities had to have special programmes for all students on that issue.”

Furthermore, the department and Higher Health have also prepared several protocols and institutions have been urged to follow them to adequately address gender-based violence on campuses.

Some of these protocols cover the safety in residences, making sure that campus security staff are vetted and properly trained, and universities have rape protocols in place that dictate how reports of rape and sexual assaults should be handled institutionally.


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Anti-gender based violence campaigns

Over the years, the surge in gender-based violence incidents at higher learning institutions in South Africa has continued to worsen. As a result, government have initiated various Anti-gender-based violence interventions.




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