National Workshop Report: April 10th 2019 Improving Safety and Responding to Gender Based Violence in Social Housing Background to the Workshop:  Both qualitative and quantitative research to develop a gender equality strategy was completed by South African consultant, Dr. Marinda Weideman.  A draft strategy was developed and presented to key stakeholders at a national workshop in Johannesburg in July 2017. The result – The Gender Equality Strategy for the Social Housing Sector http://rooftops.ca/english/takeAction  features seven key intervention areas (KIAs).  Two of the KIAs refer to improving security and responding to and preventing gender based violence. Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) www.jhc.co.za  was hired to work with two SHI housing projects to enhance security for women, children and vulnerable adults living in social housing.  Their deliverables included the development of assessment tools, a security policy, and recommendations. Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC) www.tlac.org.za was hired to work with a SHI as a pilot project to develop and distribute a package of information and recommendations including training modules which could be used by other SHIs in training their boards and staff members on GBV, harassment and sexual violence.  They also developed a GBV policy with guidelines and procedures. The intent of the National Workshop was for each consultant to present their findings and propose a policy framework. Workshop Objectives:

  1. Present the findings from both consultants on security and GBV in social housing.
  2. Seek input from key stakeholders attending the national workshop on policy directions.
  3. Seek three or four committed SHI participants to volunteer for the next stage pilot program to implement the policies in their SHI.

Recommendations:

  • ES/NASHO should convene a small group of volunteers to participate in a 2-day workshop in July/August 2019 to operationalize enhanced safety and improved GBV responses in their SHIs.
  • The GBV and the Security Policy should be combined into a single policy document that SHIs can adapt and implement. The combined draft policy should be ready in time for the July/August 2-day SHI workshop.
  • The draft policy will need to be customized by SHIs and aligned with their other existing policies and practices (maintenance, HR, etc).
  • SHIs should prepare future lease agreements to include the names of both tenants to allow better tenancy protection when gender based violence occurs. Additionally, house rules should include a provision for lease termination when GBV and sexual violence occurs.
  • ES/NASHO will prepare a package of material that will guide SHI staff on responses to improving safety and responding to GBV. This material will be available on the NASHO website and can be used by SHIs to inform their staff, board members and tenants about this initiative.
  • Following the workshop in July/August, ES/NASHO will make recommendations on approaches going forward that will enable full national participation in this initiative.

Next Steps:

  • Confirm 3-4 SHIs for the pilot workshop to operationalize the safety and GBV work
  • Prepare final package of support for the participating SHIs
  • Prepare a menu of actions to guide SHIs on an implementation plan and execution scheme
  • Finalize date for the 2-day workshop
  • Following workshop, plan for way forward

Report Appendices: