The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) will launch the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign on Tuesday.

The 16 Days campaign is a United Nations drive, which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, as the chairperson of the IMC, will address the media under the theme ‘Women’s Economic Justice for a Non-Violent and Non-Sexist South Africa’.

The launch will also provide the opportunity for the IMC on GBVF to provide an update on progress made in implementing the National Strategic Plan (NSP).

The IMC consists of the Ministers of Justice and Correctional Services, Social Development, Police, Public Service and Administration and National Treasury.

The NSP on GBVF was approved by Cabinet in March this year and presented to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The NSP is founded in six pillars, accountability, leadership and coordination; prevention and restoration of the social fabric; protection, safety and justice; response, care, support and healing; economic empowerment and research and information systems.

“A great deal of work and progress in the implementation of several interventions has been made since the launch of the NSP and the release of the Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” the IMC said in a statement on Monday.

Todays’s briefing, which will be held in Pretoria, will also give away five electric vehicles to civil society organisations, donated by BMW, to the GBVF Council.

“This is in the pursuit of GBVF interventions across all service delivery levels, in line with the six pillars of the NSP,” the IMC said.

The five days of mourning to remember those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and GBVF will also be as announced during the media briefing.

The World Health Organisation estimates that nearly 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced physical and/or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner.

According to the agency, the COVID-19 pandemic has further contributed to increasing their risk of violence.

“Although data are scarce, reports from China, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries suggest an increase in domestic violence cases since the COVID-19 outbreak began,” WHO said.

According to WHO, the health impacts of violence, particularly intimate partner or domestic violence, on women and their children, are significant.

“Violence against women can result in injuries and serious physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems, including sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unplanned pregnancy.”

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