Michelle Bownes, senior employee relations specialist, says all employees and students need to work together to achieve an institutional culture against gender-based violence. “We urge all students and staff to pledge their support as we implement and apply our new policy.”

The fight against GBV is ongoing and must be intensified.

In response, the NWU Council recently adopted and approved a GBV policy that aims to create an enabling environment to prevent and monitor GBV on and off the NWU’s campuses, inform staff and students about GBV and provide support to anyone exposed to it.


This policy will protect all gender identities and sexual orientations – including LGBTQIA+ individuals and marginalised minorities – from all forms of GBV, sexualised discrimination, violence and harassment.


From victim to victor


The NWU is committed to curbing the scourge of GBV within the institution. Survivors are encouraged to speak up and lay complaints without fear of prejudice or victimisation.


“The university will use a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach that is fair, equitable, consistent, objective, confidential and transparent to address complaints of GBV,” says Michelle Bownes, senior employee relations specialist at the NWU.


“Once a complaint has been laid with the relevant structures of the NWU, appropriate and swift action in accordance with this policy will be taken,” she says.


Brand ambassadors on or off campus


The GBV issue in South Africa has reached boiling point, and staff and students need to respect and protect each other and members of the public on and off our campuses.


“As an institution we understand that the minute our staff and students step off the premises, they become the brand ambassadors of the university. The NWU does not tolerate any acts of GBV and encourages all its stakeholders to follow and adhere to the policy even when they are off campus,” says Michelle.


This policy will protect staff and students who lay complaints against other members of the university community, whether staff or students.


It will also protect external stakeholders who do not study or work at the university, who lay complaints against an NWU staff member or student.


The fight against GBV is ongoing and must be intensified. Against the background of the NWU’s dream to be an internationally recognised university in Africa, distinguished for engaged scholarship, social responsiveness and an ethic of care, the university will continue to educate its staff, students and members of the public on GBV.

The fight against

gender-based violence intensifies

Over the past few years, institutions of higher learning have experienced drastic increases in the incidence of gender-based violence (GBV).

To tackle this, the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation has sent a policy framework to all universities across the country, to guide them in creating policies that will address GBV at their institutions.

Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, executive director of Student Life, says his department will launch a number of GBV awareness projects, in collaboration with key stakeholders and student leaders across the leadership spectrum. They also plan to work and collaborate with other institutions in both higher and basic education.

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