Kwanele app gives women a voice to report GBV

November 25, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja



As the country officially kicks off its annual 16 Days of Activism on Friday, NPO Kwanele is addressing some of the reasons stopping women from laying a criminal complaint against their attacker, with the help of technology at the palm of a woman’s hand, at no cost.

Kwanele said women often feel ill-equipped, powerless, and exposed trying to put forward a brave face to seek help from law enforcement and the justice system following a GBV attack.

“In many instances, women never follow through with a case due to fear, intimidation, administrative hurdles, language barriers and financial shortfalls.”

App

Kwanele said its mobile app gives women access to immediate response from the safety cluster, followed by in-person assistance to fill out police affidavits, to having access to some of the country’s top lawyers offering their service pro bono.

The Kwanele app tries to bridge all the gaps in the current system which is failing GBV survivors by working closely with the police, nonprofit organisations and the National Prosecuting Authority to build a network of support for women, from the moment a woman in need activates the panic button on her cellphone app.

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Justice

Advocate Casey Juries, who’s leading the organisation’s legal team, said the app is about “pushing justice in South Africa.”

She said although the South African Police Service (Saps) is generally overburdened, the app doesn’t try to overtake the role of the SAPS.

“There’s a major element of secondary traumatisation for women in South Africa, specifically women of colour. So, if we can introduce a mechanism for victims to get legal support from the get-go and to have the organisation hold their hand in support, and secure a conviction.”

No cost

Caroline Mbi-Njifor, Kwanele board chairwoman, said the NPO has over 30 legal volunteers offering their services to members at no cost.

“We have a pool of pro bono lawyers within the organization that we work with, to ensure that justice is served when it comes to vulnerable women and girls. We are already linked up to the SAPS and to different Community Policing Forums (CPF). So, when the panic button is activated, there will be a response. Someone will call me back immediately,”

How it works

Women create a profile on the cost-free Kwanele app that will enable them to use this “panic button” in a crisis. Volunteers are standing by to alert emergency services teams, police officers, and social workers close by to assist.

The app is also used by survivors to submit evidence like photos, audio and documents to build a strong case with admissible evidence to secure a conviction in court.

Crime stats

The second quarter crime stats between July and September 2022 presented by Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed that over 13 000 women were victims of assault with intend to cause grievous bodily harm.

It also showed that 1 277 women were victims of attempted murder, and 989 women were murdered during this reporting period while there were over 10 000 rape cases opened with the SAPS between July and September this year.

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