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South African and international partners pledge to Increase Services for Survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence

28 March, 2013 - Durban - The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr. Jeff Radebe, today launched the Increasing Services for Survivors of Sexual Assault Programme, at the Phoenix Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) in KwaZulu Natal.

The programme brings together local and international partners all aimed at addressing the current pandemic of sexual and gender based violence affecting the country.

Funded by USAID and the M.A.C AIDS Fund, the programme aims to support the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit (SOCA) of the National Prosecuting Authority in achieving its objectives of:
• Increasing public awareness of the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC’s)
• Expanding and improving services of TCC’s through education, training, research and infrastructure support.

TCCs are one-stop facilities that are a critical part of South Africa's anti-rape strategy, aiming to reduce secondary victimisation, improve conviction rates and reduce the cycle time for finalisation of cases.

TCCs operate best in public hospitals close to communities where the incidence of rape is particularly high. They are also linked to the reopening sexual offences courts, which are to be staffed by highly experienced prosecutors, social workers, magistrates, NGOs and police.

The TCC project is a direct response to the scourge of sexual and gender based violence affecting the country, and represents an integrated strategy for prevention, response and support for victims of sexual and gender based violence.

Recognising that the demand for such services far outstrips the availability of TCCs, the USAID and the MAC AIDS Fund engaged the Foundation for Professional Development, and its civil society partners, Soul City Institute, Sonke Gender Justice Network (Sonke), and the Medical Research Council, as implementing partners to address this challenge.

The wide array of services and experience within this partnership, has allowed for the partners to draw on their core competencies to deliver a holistic model of ensuring that victims are treated with care and compassion, and that victims are turned into survivors through education, awareness and life skills development.

According to the Minister of Justice, "In practical terms, the Thuthuzela Care Centre model serves as a powerful tool to convert the Constitution (of the Republic of South Africa) into a living instrument of law for all victims of sexual and gender based violence."

The launch was attended by the US Charge d'Affaires, Virginia Palmer, who together with the Minister; Provincial dignitaries, the key partners signed the Thuthuzela Care Centre Pledge, committing them to continued support for victims of sexual and gender based violence through the centres.

"We are proud to continue working with the governments of South Africa and the U.S. to expand the successful TCC network and the critical services it provides," said Nancy Mahon, Global Executive Director of the MAC AIDS Fund. "We have been humbled by the impact we've already seen the TCC network has on women's lives. In addition to reducing secondary victimization and improving conviction rates, the TCCs network also plays a vital role in limiting new HIV infections. We hope the expansion of this network will enable us to help more women in need of care throughout South Africa."

According to Dr. Gustaaf Wolvaardt, CEO of FPD, " This project is a wonderful example of true international collaboration- it creates a platform that harmonizes the efforts of government, civil society and donors around a common purpose of taking a stand against sexual and gender based violence in South Africa”

According to Dr. Sue Goldstein of Soul City, "This programme gives us the opportunity to begin to shift the societal norms that continue driving and growing the silent epidemic of sexual and gender based violence facing us." Mbuyiselo Botha of Sonke, made a passionate appeal: "We call on men and boys to rise and take action to stop sexual violence in our country and say NOT IN MY NAME. We must end the stigma associated with rape and support survivors of sexual violence who seek services at the Thuthuzela Care Centres".

The Medical Research Council's Prof. Rachel Jewkes affirms that, "the high levels of sexual violence and low levels of reporting are indicative of a society with huge need and relatively inaccessible services, justice demands that victims should be able to access care and assistance after rape so we can remove the pervasive climate of impunity for perpetrators"

The Thuthuzela Care Centres are beacons of hope, care and compassion in a sea of violence facing the vulnerable of society.

About FPD
The Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) was established in 1997 by the South African Medical Association with the vision of "building a better society through education and development". FPD is one of the largest indigenous health developmental organizations working in Southern and Eastern Africa FPD educational programmes annually reach more than 30 000 health care professionals, educators and managers. AIDS and Gender Based Violence are signature initiatives of FPD. To date FPD has supported the South African Government to provided AIDS treatment to 230 000 people living with AIDS, provided more than 1 200 000 free HIV tests and provided training to thousands of health care professionals and educators on HIV and GBV related topics. For more information please visit www.foundation.co.za or contact: Dr. Gustaaf Wolvaardt
Tel +27 83 3008271
E mail: gustaafw@foundation.co.za

About MAC AIDS Fund
The MAC AIDS Fund (MAF), the heart and soul of MAC Cosmetics, was established in 1994 to support men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. MAF is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, providing financial support to organizations working with underserved regions and populations. Recently recognized by Funders Concerned About AIDS as the top corporate giver in the arena and the number one philanthropic funder of domestic U.S. HIV/AIDS work, MAF is committed to addressing the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS by supporting diverse organizations around the world that provide a wide range of services to people living with HIV/AIDS. To date, MAF has raised more than $280 million (U.S.) exclusively through the sale of MAC's VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lip gloss donating 100 percent of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit www.macaidsfund.org or contact:

About USAID
USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State and is headed by an Administrator and Deputy Administrator, both appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. USAID's work supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting economic growth, global health, social reform, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. USAID programs in South Africa focus on assisting the country in completing the transformation from its apartheid past into a healthy, economically vibrant, fully inclusive democracy. To assist the South African Government in building capacity to address critical issues, USAID/Southern Africa works in the areas of health, economic growth, gender equality, education, and trilateral assistance.

USAID programs in South Africa focus on assisting the country in completing the transformation from its apartheid past into a healthy, economically vibrant, fully inclusive democracy. To assist the South African Government in building capacity to address critical issues, USAID/Southern Africa works in the areas of health, economic growth, gender equality, education, and trilateral assistance.
For more information please contact:
U.S. Embassy Spokesperson
Jack Hillmeyer
PretoriaPress@state.gov
http://sa.usaid.gov
00 27 79 111 8290

About Soul City Institute
Soul City's is a social and behaviour change organisation, driven by critical reflection on communication intervention and the broader context in which they are implemented. The foundation of Soul City's theory of change has always been the synergy between a health promotion model and a societal model: Soul City aims to impact positively on health and social outcomes by addressing the broader social and community environments, the social-interpersonal environment and individual determinants of sexual and gender based violence. For more information, visit www.soulcity.org.za
For more information please contact: Dr. Sue Goldstein sue@soulcity.org.za 00 27 82 851 4080

About Sonke Gender Justice Network
Sonke is a South African-based NGO that works across Africa to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to support men and boys to take action to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence, and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and Aids. Using a human rights framework to achieve gender equality, Sonke endeavours to create the change necessary for all to enjoy equitable, healthy and happy relationships that contribute to the development of just and democratic societies. Sonke's flagship programme, One Man Can, mobilises men and boys to be partners in promoting a society free from violence.
For more information, visit: http://www.genderjustice.org.za/
For more information please contact: Mbuyiselo Botha 00 27 82 518 1177

About Medical Research Council (MRC)
The Medical Research Council is a parastatal science council and its Gender & Health Research Unit has been undertaking research on the intersections of gender based violence and health for almost two decades. It has led research in South Africa describing the epidemiology of rape and other forms of gender-based violence, their health consequences and research on rape prevention and health sector responses. It has worked closely with the South African government developing the policy on sexual assault and rape of the national Department of Health and a curriculum for training health professionals in post-rape care. The Unit also houses the global Sexual Violence Research Initiative. For more information please visit www.mrc.ac.za
Or contact:
Prof. Rachel jewkes 00 27 82 442 3655

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