Friday, 25 November 2022
PRETORIA – As today marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children, which will run until 10 December 2022, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa’s (DENOSA) National Gender Structure notes with sadness that women and children still suffer and fall victims to Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBV+F) in the workplace, in the communities and at their homes.
This continued suffering by women and children is despite the ratification of Convention 190 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on violence and harassment of women in the workplace by the South African government. DENOSA calls on the lawmakers in Parliament to ensure that the laws of the country are now aligned to the Convention 190 so that they are not as silent as they currently are on matters related to harassment in the world of work.
While some progress on the part of the government to activate the country’s senses and alertness against GBV+F is notable, like the recent Gender-Based Violence + Femicide Summit as the presidential project, the reality is that there is still a long way to go to achieving the ideal conditions for women and children in South Africa.
DENOSA Gender hopes that the government makes good of its undertaking to bring about the National Strategic Plan out of the recently held GBV+F Summit, which raised a number of pertinent areas that need urgent troubleshooting and intervention of the government and its stakeholders around Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.
Some of the areas that were raised sharply at the Summit, for instance, is the need to ensure that Forensic Nursing is placed right at the centre of the national programme to ensure consequence-management for criminal acts of GBV and the level of caring for the victims of GBV+F.
One of the stumbling blocks to the nursing services, especially forensic nursing, from assisting with the cases of gender-based violence is the limitation that the specialty is faced with as it is not a recognised specialty for remuneration purposes (for those who undertake forensic nursing post-graduate programme to be remunerated according to specialty level) as this area is still with the nursing regulatory authority, the South African Nursing Council (SANC). There is a need for the SANC to speed up recognizing this specialty so that many nurses can be enrolled and be remunerated as well as be deployed in various Thuthuzela Care Centres and community healthcare facilities.
Forensic nursing specialty skill enables nurses to care for patients who are victims of gender-based violence in a way that also collects evidence of abuse on the victims, which is stored in a way that is admissible in a court of law.
On the increasing level of violence and harassment against women in the workplace, the government is to blame in many instances as the root cause of such incidents are the shortage of resources and staff. In many instances, nurses are abused by community members at healthcare facilities on the basis that the facilities are not operating for 24-hours or that there are no medications.
Recently, a nurse in Jane Furse suffered public humiliation and harassment from a community who demanded answers from the nurse for the healthcare facility not to operate for 24-hours. The poor nurses was video-taped and such video circulated on social media without her permission. If the government had enough staff and resources for the facility in question, the nurse would not have been victimized the way she was.