The value of advocacy in promoting social change: implementing the new Domestic Violence Act in South Africa.

Abstract:

:South Africa's first democratic government passed the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) into law in 1998 as part of local and international commitments to protecting the human rights of women. Although the Act was welcomed as groundbreaking legislation, delays in implementing it led to increasing frustration. This paper describes an advocacy campaign conducted by the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication in partnership with the National Network on Violence against Women, to ensure the effective implementation of the DVA. Lessons from the campaign stress the importance of coalition building to draw on diverse strengths, and the use of a combination of advocacy tools, including lobbying, media advocacy and social mobilisation to achieve campaign goals. Given the critical role NGOs dealing with victims/survivors of domestic violence and the justice system played in lobbying for change and drafting the new law, their exclusion from the implementation process was ironic. While many advocacy efforts focus on the development of policy and legislation, ongoing efforts are needed to ensure effective implementation, the commitment of adequate resources and monitoring to identify gaps and propose new solutions. Our experience highlights the important role of policy advocates in connecting the multiple streams at play in the policy and legislative arena.

journal_name

Reprod Health Matters

authors

Usdin S,Christofides N,Malepe L,Maker A

doi

10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90187-3

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2000-11-01 00:00:00

pages

55-65

issue

16

eissn

0968-8080

issn

1460-9576

journal_volume

8

pub_type

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