The VPF produces a number of policy briefs intended to guide government policy on violence prevention. These can be viewed here.
13 March 2023
This policy brief shows that interventions can prevent and reduce violence in South Africa. There are however challenges to delivering these programmes at scale. These include limited capacity for implementation, adapting for context, and balancing the need for programmes to be evidence-based while also being responsive to communities’ needs. South Africa’s policymakers and researchers need to find solutions to these challenges. Read more here.
The Violence Prevention Forum meets twice a year. Each meeting is captured in a detailed meeting report. These can be viewed here.
Mapping the evidence: Report on South African intervention to prevent VAWC

The key objective of creating this evidence map was to enable policy makers, civil society organisations and research institutions to quickly identify the extent to which there is evidence to support the effectiveness of violence prevention interventions. View the report on this process here.

This evidence gap map was created by the Institute for Security Studies in conjunction with CLEAR-AA at Wits University and the African Centre for Evidence at the University of Johannesburg. The full evidence gap map can be accessed here.

Report on how the problem of violence against women and children is represented in South African intervention research

This report presents an analysis of 57 research papers that were included in an evidence map of South African interventions to prevent violence against women and children between 1990 and 2018. A feminist policy analysis methodology that asks, ‘What is the problem represented to be?’ was applied to find out how researchers define the problem of violence, the assumptions and presuppositions that underpin the problem definition, the silences and the impact on policy and practice of how the problem is represented.

Summary of research papers in the review of evidence on interventions to prevent VAWC in SA

This summary of research papers builds on an evidence map compiled by the Institute for Security Studies, the Centre of Learning on Evaluation and Results at the University of Witwatersrand, and the Africa Centre for Evidence at the University of Johannesburg. The evidence map provides a snapshot of 57 studies with interventions aimed at reducing women’s and children’s experiences of violence in South Africa. This summary updates the 2019 evidence mapping exercise, including a total of 60 studies, and undertakes a synthesis of the evidence.
Convening and facilitating a multisector dialogue - a how to guide

This guide is for individuals or organisations convening multi-stakeholder forums, government officials who chair coordinating forums, and civil society organisations facilitating networks.

How to start and sustain a community dialogue to solve local problems

This guide emerged from the experience of the community dialogue that started in 2021 between the communities of Touwsranten and Hoekwil in the Southern Cape. The monthly dialogue meetings bring together people from Touwsranen and Hoekwil, adjacent communities divided by Apartheid-era spacial planning. The aim of the dialogue it to build a safe and prosperous community for all who live in the areas, and to build bridges across lines of race, class and nationality. The guide is intended for individuals and organisations who wish to initiate dialogue in their own communities to solve local problems.

Community dialogue for safety and prosperity

The communities of Hoekwil and Touwsranten on South Africa’s Garden Route have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue process to improve safety and increase the prosperity of all residents since August 2021. The dialogue brings residents together across class, race and nationality. This assessment reveals the achievements and challenges of the process. The dialogue has provided a space where community members can communicate directly with police officials and learn more about how the police work. Improved relations with the local police have had positive results, particularly in the immigrant community. The assessment found that participants want the dialogue to deal with one issue at a time, as taking on too much proved to be ineffective.

Western Cape a beacon of hope for SA violence prevention

This year’s State of the Province Address by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde heralded an important step forward for support to parents and families, and for preventing violence in the province. Despite budget constraints, the Western Cape province is supporting parents as part of an internationally recognised approach to violence prevention. The Institute for security studies published an ISS Today on Winde’s address, which can be viewed here.

The leadership we deserve

It is now undeniable; the crisis of leadership in South African politics, academia, business and civil society is a failure we shoulder collectively as a nation. It requires courageous reflection and action. On 18 and 19 May, 50 leaders from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academia, government, donor agencies, social movements and the private sector gathered in Durban. They sought to answer the question: What is needed to build, nurture, inspire and support good leadership for peace and non-violence? South Africa is facing a leadership crisis; yet there is a way to cultivate effective, empathetic and accountable leaders. Read the ISS Today here.
The VPF has successfully demonstrated its ability to broker on-going conversations between stakeholders working to address violence against women and violence against children. In 2020, the ISS carried out evaluative research to document the forum’s methods, principles, practices, and impacts. The evaluation may inform the development of a model for building and convening multisectoral dialogue on complex social problems, such as the prevention of violence. The primary objective of the evaluation was to explain how the forum works and achieves results.
A mapping exercise of South Africa’s violence prevention programmes and interventions was developed by forum participants. This was captured in the report of the 8th meeting of the VPF. To see these maps click .

More than 54 programmes, policies and local interventions were identified, some local and some with broad geographic reach. The following information was captured for each programme, policy or intervention:
  • Name of the intervention, programme or protocol
  • Does it address violence against women?
  • Does it address violence against children?
  • Does it address men’s violence against other men?
  • Is the programme or intervention being implemented currently?
  • Who is implementing it?
  • Where is it being implemented?
  • Has it been evaluated?
  • Is it linked to policy? If yes, which policy?
  • Who is responsible for this policy?
  • Is the policy costed?
  • Is there a mechanism for the intervention or programme to be taken to scale? If yes, what?
In 2017 the VPF mapped all the policies and laws in South Africa that related to the prevention of violence at the time.

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INSPIRE is an evidence-based technical package to support countries in their efforts to prevent and respond to violence against children aged 0-17.

In 2019 the Institute for Security Studies and Save the Children South Africa undertook consultations with NGOs, government departments, researchers and children to assess South Africa’s status and the contribution of each sector, towards implementing the seven strategies. Read the report on their findings here. These findings are summarised below.

Inspire seven strategies for ending violence against children
Implementation and enforcement of laws
Norms and values
Safe environments
Parent and caregiver support
Income and economic strengthening
Response and support services
Education and life skills
On 23 November 2022, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Save the Children South Africa, and UNICEF SA co-hosted a workshop to assess how South Africa is implementing the INSPIRE framework to prevent violence against children (VAC). This workshop report outlines the developments in the VAC ecosystem in South Africa and showcases how organisations working to prevent violence against children use the INSPIRE framework. It concludes with recommendations for improving the use of the INSPIRE framework.
In 2018, VPF Driver Group member Chandre Gould examined the responses to violence prevention in South Africa, focusing on the challenges and shortcomings impacting government efforts. Writing for the Wilson Centre, Gould produced a research paper and policy brief.
Community-based organisations can make a significant long-term contribution to the development of communities and the prevention of violence, while strengthening social cohesion. This report presents case studies of three long-standing community initiatives, showing the multiple social benefits they bring in challenging contexts.
VPF briefing document: Social development draft sector funding policy

In 2023 the national Department of Social Development (DSD) released a draft of a new Sector Funding Policy (SFP). This proposed policy impacts how DSD funds services provided by partners in the Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) sector. It provides guidance on what services will be funded and how funds will be allocated for specific services based on their priority.

This guide has been developed by the Violence Prevention Forum (VPF) to help NPOs and other stakeholders to understand the policy. It aims to assist NPOs (particularly those providing interventions, programmes and services that prevent violence) to prepare for the policy’s implementation.

In 2023 the national Department of Social Development (DSD) approved a new Sector Funding Policy (SFP) for public comment. This new policy impacts how the DSD funds services provided by partners in the non-profit organisation (NPO) sector. The VPF has developed several factsheets to explain what this means for the violence prevention community.
The Institute for Security Studies have prepared infographics on murders and serious assaults of women and children in South Africa, based on the South African Police Service’s annual crime statistics for 2021 and 2022.

The VPF has produced a number of short films explaining their work and impact. View these here.

VPF members Dr Nwabisa Shai and Tshepiso Machabaphala explain the problem of violence in South Africa
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