Southern African Development Community Prevention of Violence Against Women, 1998

Sectors : Gender and social development
Organisation : SADC (Southern African Development Community)
Date made: 
Heads Of State

Commitments in: Gender - Gender and social development

“WE STRONGLY CONDEMN violence against women and children in all its forms, and resolve that the following measures be adopted


8. Enacting laws such as sexual offences and domestic violence legislation making various forms of violence against women clearly defined crimes, and taking appropriate measures to impose penalties, punishment and other enforcement mechanisms for the prevention and eradication of violence against women and children;

9. Adopting legislative measures to ensure the protection and removal of all forms of discrimination against, and empowerment of women with disabilities, the girl-child, the aged, women in armed conflict and other women whose circumstances make them especially vulnerable to violence;

10. Reviewing and reforming the criminal laws and procedures applicable to cases of sexual offences, to eliminate gender bias and ensure justice and fairness to both the victim and accused;

11. Introducing, as a matter of priority, legal and administrative mechanisms for women and children subjected to violence, effective access to counselling, restitution, reparation and other just forms of dispute resolution;

12. Adopting such other legislative and administrative measures as may be necessary to ensure the prevention and eradication of all forms of violence against women and children

Social, Economic, Cultural and Political

13. Promoting the eradication of elements in traditional norms and religious beliefs, practices and stereotypes which legitimise and exacerbate the persistence and tolerance of violence against women and children;

14. Introducing and supporting gender sensitisation and public awareness programmes aimed at eradicating violence against women and children;

15. Encouraging the media to play a constructive role in the eradication of violence against women and children by adopting guidelines which ensure sensitive coverage of the issue and avoid the perpetuation of stereotypes;


16. Providing easily accessible information on services available to women and children victims/survivors of violence, including women and children with disabilities;

17. Ensuring accessible, effective and responsive police, prosecutorial, health, social welfare and other services, and establishing specialised units to redress cases of violence against women and children;

18. Providing accessible, affordable and specialised legal services, including legal aid, to ensure the just and speedy resolution of matters regarding violence against women and children;

19. Providing easily accessible, affordable and, where possible, free social, and administrative services for the empowerment of women and children victims/survivors of violence.

Education, Training and Awareness Building

20. Introducing and promoting gender sensitisation and training of all service providers engaged in the administration of justice, such as judicial officers, prosecutors, police, prison, welfare and health officials;

21. Undertaking and sharing research of the gathering of statistics and other information on the causes, prevalence and consequences of violence against women and children;

22. Encouraging the exchange of national, regional and international best practices for the eradication of violence against women and children;

Intergrated Approaches

23. Ensuring that all these measures are implemented in an integrated manner by all stakeholders;

Budgetary Allocations

24. Allocating the necessary resources to ensure the implementation and sustainability of the above programmes;


25. Regional policies, programmes and mechanisms to enhance the security and empowerment of women and children, be adopted and their implementation monitored;

26. Urgent consideration be given to the adoption of legally binding SADC Instruments on Preventing Violence Against Women and Children, and to ensure that these commitments are translated into tangible actions;

27. SADC convene a Regional Conference, before the end of the Year 2000, to review progress made in the implementation of the above measures and recommendations.

28. This addendum is an integral part of the 1997 SADC Declaration on Gender in Development.”

Regional Africa