Namibia: Sioka Calls for Multi-Sectoral SGBV Response

22 October 2020

Gender minister Doreen Sioka says multi-sectoral response was crucial in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence.

The minister, who has been under fire over rising crime, especially involving women and children, said she was equally sympathetic to the plight of anti-femicide protesters.

"I am a woman, mother and a Namibian. Thus, gender-based violence of our women and children affects us all. Therefore, the approach to GBV should be multi-sectoral," she said in a statement issued by her office on Tuesday.

Sioka further assured the line ministry will not relent in ensuring the prevention, protection and support services to GBV, violence against children and victims of human trafficking are provided cohesively.

She said under her tenure, she has, in the strongest sense continuously condemned SGBV, especially against women and children, as it constitutes a threat to human dignity and human right.

"The ministry has also developed and implemented policies and action plans which includes the National Gender Policy 2010-2020, seeking to put survivors first by making sure that the services they receive are empathetic and correct.

It also stimulates a culture of care and GBV-watch amongst families, communities and institutions and promotes early help seeking to prevent or limit harm. It also seeks to take the long view on changing social norms and to address gaps in the law and understanding of GBV," she said.

Sioka stated the National Gender Policy has been instrumental in prompting increased institutional attention to the issue of GBV and as a result, funding to GBV has been increasing and many organisations now address GBV as an integral component of their programme.

"In the same vein, the GBV and Human Right Clusters were established at national and regional levels," elaborated Sioka. Some of the achievements, according to the minister, include realising that working effectively with and harnessing the power of the media is an essential part of the efforts to curb GBV and influence broader social norms.

"The Media GBV campaign of 2009 has been revamped and relaunched in 2017 focusing on domestic violence and rape currently being aired by NBC local radios in all languages," she said. "This five-year plan calls all Namibians to renewed action in a multi-sectoral manner, prioritised, the national effort against GBV. However, this is not the first National Plan of Action on Gender Based-Violence, we had a Plan of Action on GBV 2012-2016 which was reviewed and informed the development of this new plan."

- psiririka@nepc.com.na

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