11/08/2017 12:10 SAST | Updated 11/08/2017 12:15 SAST

If You're A Victim of Gender-Based Violence And Feel The State Has Failed You, Here's Who Can Help

"Government's response in preventing violations and responding effectively once violations have occured has been extremely pitiful."

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.
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Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The Police Ministry is preparing to launch a programme "to remove barriers to reporting domestic violence", but some civil rights organisations are way ahead of it.

From August 12 to September 2, the Women's Legal Centre (WLC) will be welcoming statements from victims and survivors of violence against women who feel the state machinery has failed them.

The centre's legal director, Seeham Samaai, said: "We hope that through this campaign we can identify cases where we can litigate to hold the state accountable for its failure to protect women from violence and refer and follow up on complaints to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate."

The WLC, together with organisations such as People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) and Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC) launched the Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women Campaign on Wednesday.

Samaai said government's response in preventing violations and responding effectively once violations have occurred has been "extremely pitiful", considering the statistics on abuse meted out against women and children.

Read: 5 Shocking Facts About Intimate Partner Violence in South Africa

Just this week, Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana was accused of assaulting Mandisa Duma, but he hasn't been arrested. There has been public outrage over what many feel has been the dragging of feet by the police in Manana's arrest. He did appear in court on Thursday and was granted R5,000 bail.

Samaai says that unless government, the judiciary and the police display the determination and the political will to remove women's rights from the backburner and prioritise victims and their rights, women will continue to shoulder unfair burdens.

Read: If You're An Abusive Relationship And Want To Get Out, Here's Where To Start

In the meanwhile, if you know of someone who is in an abusive situation and needs help, here are numbers you can contact:

If you are unsure about what constitutes abuse and what to expect from authorities when reporting a case of abuse, this might help: