South Africa has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence (GBV) in the world (Jewkes et al, 2009). Women who experience violence – either sexual or physical – are at increased likelihood for a range of physical, mental and emotional health difficulties (Campbell et al, 2002). GBV also increases the risk of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a particular concern in South Africa where an estimated 17.3% of adults are living with HIV (Statistics South Africa, 2010). An integrated, multi-sector approach is required to effectively address the country’s concurrent GBV and HIV epidemics.
Addressing GBV and HIV is a priority in the government and non-governmental sectors, and there is an urgent need for research that identifies effective programming and best practices for addressing GBV and HIV in the South African context. This case study aims to contribute to the growing knowledge base on interventions addressing GBV by documenting the activities carried out by the Greater Rape Intervention Program (GRIP), which offers a range of support services to survivors of GBV in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, including psychological support and medical and legal assistance.
GRIP was established in 2000 in response to the high levels of sexual violence and HIV in the Nelspruit area. The program has established close working relationships with the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Health (DoH), the Department of Justice (DoJ), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and the Department of Social Development (DSD). GRIP’s main point of service provision is its 29 Care Rooms located in police stations, hospitals and courtrooms throughout Mpumalanga province. Care Rooms are staffed by GRIP’s Volunteer Counselors, who are trained to provide survivors with immediate police and medical attention, emotional support, and courtroom assistance. GRIP also offers pre-court training for survivors who bring cases to trial, in order to prepare them for courtroom procedures, improve their confidence and reduce associated stress and trauma.
Last updated: June 20, 2013