Publication Date
Publication Date: 
January 1, 2015

Developed by Sonke Gender Justice, this guide is designed to provide practical guidance for activists and human rights defenders in South Africa who work with community members around issues of gender-based violence (GBV). According to the publication, South Africa has some of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world. To attain gender equality, it is necessary to work towards eradicating gender-based violence. This includes ensuring that the state performs its legal duties to protect its citizens from GBV and upholds survivors' rights.

The guide has been published to help support community activists or human rights defenders on two key aspects of GBV response. First, to assist community members with attaining justice for gender-based violence by empowering them with information and assisting them in demanding that their rights are upheld. Secondly, it includes guidance on how to support and advise survivors, their families, and friends in a way that is sensitive to their experiences and feelings and is empowering.

Throughout the guide, general information is provided about specific topics, followed by case studies based on real cases to help understand how the rights of gender-based violence survivors and their families can be enforced practically. At the end of the guide there is a referral list, which lists a range of government institutions and non-governmental organisations that community workers can refer survivors and their families to for counselling, legal advice and support. A court support form is also provided, which is the form that activists should complete when attending court to monitor a gender-based violence case.

The Guide includes the following contents:

  • Understanding gender-based violence in South Africa
  • Ensuring survivor friendly support and advise
  • Understanding the criminal justice system procedure in criminal cases
  • Sexual violence and state duties to survivors of sexual violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Harassment
  • Ukuthwala
  • Sex work and gender-based violence
  • Inmates (prisoners) and gender-based violence
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) people and gender-based violence
  • Foreign nationals and gender-based violence
  • Misconduct by the state
  • State failure to fulfil responsibilities
  • The media and gender based violence cases
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Number of Pages: 



Sonke Gender Justice website on January 16 2015.