Anti-Gender Based Violence Campaign Makes Strides


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.



As part of government’s response to fight the scourge, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), along with its entity ‘HIGHER HEALTH’, has made several policies, institutional and programmatic interventions, all of which are intended to create a safe and secure environment for students and staff across the country.

Delivering the keynote address, at a Research Indaba on gender-based violence (GBV) held at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Higher Education Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela noted that these interventions have yielded positive results at institutions across the country.

Manamela noted that from 2022, over 700 000 students are currently linked to health, wellness and psychosocial support and care services.

This has been made possible through HIGHER HEALTH’s toll-free helpline 24/7 toll-free crisis helpline 0800 36 36 36.

He explained that most of the students had taken the HIGHER HEALTH self-administered risk assessments that place some of them in greater danger of GBV, mental ill-health and other challenges that afflict young people – importantly, allowing for mitigating actions.

The intervention has around 10 000 peer educators, including 15 students per campus, volunteers to help fellow students to be protected from HIV, GBV and other medical and social challenges, Manamela noted.

In 2022 alone, 8 700 frontline staff were capacitated to deal with GBV on campuses [and] together with HIGHER HEALTH, we have developed a user-friendly GBV self-risk assessment tool that can help to open doors to professional care for vulnerable students.

Manamela said that students in their first year especially, are encouraged to access the self-risk assessment and use it as a checklist to identify risk factors and personal behaviours which may make them more vulnerable to the GBV epidemic.

Students can access the assessment HIGHER HEALTH’s extra-mural curriculum, dialogues and interventions

He continued, “From an initial 100, we now have more than 6 200 individuals who reported incidents of gender-based harassment, intimate partner violence and GBV across our campuses which is a positive sign and bodes well for breaking the silence.”

Additionally, In support of students, the department has also developed guidelines and protocols to manage sexual and gender-related misconduct - which sets out the procedures for reporting and handling complaints, issues of anonymity and confidentiality, as well as to guide implementation and compliance at institutions.

“As it relates to more programmatic interventions, we are implementing various programmes and support structures for students and frontline staff at institutions of higher learning. The programmes are offered on 420 campuses across South Africa – in urban and rural areas," he adds. 

Manamela said that the five protocols are currently in the development stage and will be released later this year, these include campus safety and security minimum standards; safety in private accommodation; safety in residences; staff-student relationships; and statement of complaint.


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