Gender Based Violence (GBV) means all acts perpetuated against women, men, boys and girls on the basis of their sex which causes or could cause them physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or economic harm, including the threat to take such acts, or to undertake the imposition of arbitrary restrictions on or deprivation of fundamental freedoms in private or public life in peace time and during situations of armed or other forms of conflict. Gender based violence is known to be widespread in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and presents a major obstacle to attaining gender equality and equity. Gender Based Violence covers domestic violence, sexual harassment in the workplace, human trafficking and sexual and emotional abuse to name a few examples. When referring to Gender Based Violence SADC recognises that the discussion is not just about the act of violence, but also about education and prevention, as well as victim assistance.
- Enact and enforce legislation prohibiting all forms of gender-based violence;
- Ensure that the laws on gender based violence provide for the comprehensive testing, treatment and care of survivors of sexual assault;
- Review and reform their criminal laws and procedures applicable to cases of sexual offences and gender based violence;
- Enact and adopt specific legislative provisions to prevent human trafficking and provide holistic serviced to the victims, with the aim or re-integrating them into society;
- Enact legislative provisions, and adopt and implement policies, strategies and programmes which define and prohibit sexual harassment in all spheres, and provide deterrent sanctions for perpetrators of sexual harassment; and
- Adopt integrated approaches, including institutional cross sector structures, with the aim of reducing current levels of gender based violence by half by 2015.
The SADC Gender Protocol Barometer is updated annually by the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance and measures the success of these commitments at the Member State level. According to the SADC Gender Protocol Barometer, 11 Member States have adopted legislation that deals with domestic violence, and all but Angola and Madagascar are developing or adopting National Action Plans to end Gender Based Violence. These Member States are well on their way to meeting the first Protocol on Gender and Development target; however, testing and treatment of survivors of sexual assault is a more difficult target because of the lack of reporting related to assault, and the lack of funds dedicated to this area.
While Human Trafficking affects both genders, it continues to plague specifically women and children around the world. Every country is in some way affected and in the SADC region, many of the Member States are considered to be a source, destination and transit point for women and children subjected to sex and labour trafficking. To date, in attempts to combat human trafficking, seven SADC Member States have adopted legislation related to human trafficking. 12 Member States have signed the United Nations Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Legislation is only the first step in the long-term battle against human trafficking.
- 1997 SADC Declaration on Gender and Development and its 1998 Addendum on the Prevention and Eradication of Violence Against Women and Children.
- SADC Protocol on Gender and Development
- SADC Strategy to address Gender Based Violence.
- SADC Strategy to address Gender Based Violence in situations of armed or other forms of conflict.
- Ten Year SADC Strategic Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
- United Nations Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children