South Africa’s plague of domestic violence against women and children has taken on a whole new dimension with the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant “stay at home” lockdown. Those most vulnerable now face both a much higher risk of abuse, and reduced avenues of escape. Fortunately both government and a host of welfare organisations are responding, and if you know of anyone who may benefit from knowing about these initiatives, please do think of forwarding this to them as soon as you can.
Let’s lay the groundwork with a look at how our laws protect victims and at how these protections work in practice. Then, and most importantly, we point those in need of guidance and urgent practical help to a “personalised safety plan” covering everything from “Be Prepared” through “Signalling for Help” and “Leaving” to “Staying Safe”.