Sexual Offences

THE KOPANONG DECLARATION

365 DAYS OF ACTION TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN

We, the participants at this watershed conference agree on a coordinated and comprehensive approach to ending violence against women and children;

Consisting as we do, of 260 representatives from all spheres of government; constitutional bodies; civil society; business; unions; faith-based organisations; traditional authorities and international cooperating partners including United Nations Agencies;

Concerned, that ten years after our Constitution came into force and despite the ratification of several international human rights instruments, the rights of people who suffer gender violence are still daily violated;

Convinced that the Age of Hope, depends on all South Africans living in an environment where they are free from fear, and able to exercise and enjoy their full human rights;

Aware that the Sixteen Days of Activism campaign needs to be sustained all year around;

Recommit ourselves to the following fundamental provisions of the Constitution:

  • The equality clause which outlaws unfair discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
  • The right to human dignity.
  • The clause on freedom and security of the person, which states that everyone has the right to “bodily and psychological integrity”. This includes the right to make decisions concerning reproduction; security and control over one’s body and to dignity.
  • Socio-economic rights such as the right to adequate housing, health care services, food, water and social security.
  • The statement that in cases where customary law or any law conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution takes precedence.

Commit ourselves to finalising a detailed action plan whose overarching objectives are to:

  • Strengthen and place far greater emphasis, on prevention through forging effective partnerships with all stakeholders, including schools, parents associations, community based organizations, the media, local government, traditional and religious leaders and the private sector; as well as to develop criteria for monitoring the effectiveness of such campaigns.
  • Ensure that men work together with women in eliminating patriarchy.
  • Create a safe physical environment.
  • Promote a holistic, empowerment approach to eradicating violence against women and children, that takes account of the intersection of race, class, location, disability and sexuality and of the role of poverty and economic inequality in fuelling this scourge.
  • Eradicate violence against women and children in a targeted and measured way over the coming decade, based on baseline data on sexual offenses, domestic violence, sexual harassment, hate crimes and identity based violence to be established as part of the action plan.
  • Develop, enact and implement a comprehensive legislative framework, that gives effect to the rights of all citizens especially women and children to be free from gender based violence; cost the laws in place and develop business plans, for their implementation.
  • Ensure an integrated case management system operating on minimum standards with a view to reduce cycle times and increase conviction rates of perpetrators of gender violence.
  • Eliminate secondary victimisation by improving services to survivors of gender violence and ensure that every survivor has access to comprehensive treatment, victim friendly care that is standardised and coordinated between the various service providers.
  • Provide effective support and help to empower survivors of gender violence, so that they can reclaim their lives and dignity; as well as to rehabilitate perpetrators.
  • Put in place effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

We further commit to ensuring that the following priority actions, at a minimum, are taken before the 2006 Sixteen Day campaign that starts on 25 November 2006:

  • The Sexual Offences Bill is passed after a further round of public comment.
  • The Children’s Bill is passed as part of the development, promulgation, resourcing and implementation of legislation and policy, to effectively prevent and respond to violence against children harmonised with international conventions, standards and norms.
  • An audit of all specialised services (forensic clinic services, one- stop centres, Victim Empowerment Centres etc) is conducted to determine what exists and to develop a best practice model.
  • A strategy is developed for the management of sexual offences, including the establishment of sexual offences courts, with the participation of NGO service providers;
  • The drafting of a joint, integrated training plan on violence against women and children and a body to co-ordinate the above.
  • Development of implementation plans,for all existing policies and procedures on gender violence, including the National Policy on Sexual Assault Care Practice. This should include provincial and civil society representation and should have a strong public education and awareness component.
  • Formulate a policy framework on partnerships between government and non-governmental organisations,in the provision of shelters and places of safety to include all stakeholders, including local government.
  • Canvass the draft action plan extensively with all stakeholders, especially those not represented at this conference, and those that have the capacity to ensure that this plan is effected at community level, such as local government, schools and traditional authorities.
  • Put in place the coordinating structure for the National Action Plan including a multi-sector task team, comprising representatives of all the working committees and a Council of Deputy Ministers chaired by the Deputy Minister of Local Government as the champion of the Sixteen Day campaign.
  • Put in place, a secretariat with the necessary technical support to ensure effective capacity and implementation.
  • Find mechanisms to ensure relevant disaggregated data; agree on key targets and baselines for the effective monitoring and evaluation of the action plan; and put in place a computerised tracking system to be developed with assistance from the Integrated Justice Sector (IJS) office.
  • Finalise the short term action plan and receive any additional inputs for the medium term action plan by the end of June 2006, with a view to adopting the 2007 Action Plan at the end of the Sixteen Days campaign on 10 December 2006.

We commit to collective resource mobilisation to ensure that these actions are taken. We will hold each other mutually accountable for the actions we have pledged, to ensure that every woman and child in our nation is able to enjoy the rights to which they are entitled by our Constitution.

Agreed this 5th day of May 2006.