oa South African Health Review - Women and sexual violence : reflections on the Millennium Development Goals

Volume 2010, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-1715



This chapter provides an overview of the magnitude of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in South Africa. The definition of SGBV is broad and encompasses a range of issues including intimate partner violence, human trafficking, early marriage and female genital mutilation, amongst others.

This chapter focuses more narrowly on issues regarding the prevention and management of sexual assault, although the authors acknowledge that many forms of SGBV often co-exist. It begins by highlighting the magnitude of SGBV in South Africa as a development issue, the complexity of addressing prevention and comprehensive management of SGBV and the importance of a multi-sectoral response within the current policy and legal context. The latter sections of the chapter explore SGBV as a public health issue, highlighting the health sector response, comprehensive clinical care and links to the justice system. Many examples and data have been drawn from the important contributions that civil society and non-governmental players have made to the research and response to SGBV in South Africa.

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