High levels of violence, shaped by a range of highly unequal social relations, have been a prominent feature of South Africa both historically, as well as post-democracy. However, this violence has not affected all equally. Women have been more likely than men to be held responsible for much of the violence inflicted upon them which has also not historically been regarded as criminal, or provided with effective legal remedies. This lack of legal and political recognition of violence towards women was addressed relatively soon following the first democratic elections in 1994. The legislative and policy reforms instituted during this period mean that some responses to the problem of gender-based violence (GBV) have been in place for some time and are well-developed in some instances. However, these developments have been uneven and fragmented, while the violence experienced by lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex individuals has yet to be adequately integrated into conceptualisations of and responses to GBV. Certain sectors have also lagged behind in responding to the problem, including the post-school education and training (PSET) sector. In recognition of the extent and seriousness of the problem, as well as its effects upon the education system, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has prepared this Policy and Strategy Framework (“the Framework”) to guide universities and colleges’ development and implementation of policies and strategies addressing GBV.
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