European Union and UNODC to assist Government with Victim Empowerment Programme

PRETORIA 19 December (UNODC) -The European Union (EU), through its European Commission Delegation to South Africa, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), have signed a joint three-year commitment to assist the Department of Social Development with its work in helping victims of crime. The initiative seeks to address the high rates of criminal victimization in South Africa through support to the country's Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP), which is part of the South African Government's National Crime Prevention Strategy.  Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of UNODC thanked the European Union "for its generous support in empowering victims of crime in South Africa. More steps are also needed to prevent crime from occurring in the first place".

Under the Agreement, the EU commits over €18 million (R180 mil) to the programme out of the 2007-2013 National Indicative Programme for South Africa worth €980 million, the largest support programme of its kind in South Africa. As implementing partner, UNODC will manage funding in collaboration with the Department of Social Development, which will be responsible for appointing Victim Empowerment Coordinators in the provinces.

While primarily seeking to improve institutional capacity of both state and civil society/non-governmental organizations dealing with victim empowerment, a number of One-Stop Centres are foreseen to target female and juvenile victims of gender-based violence.

Gerard McGovern, head of Operations and acting head of the European Commission Delegation to South Africa, said: "One of the most tragic outcomes of South Africa's comparatively high crime rate is the ever-increasing number of victims: many of them woman and children. We are indeed pleased to join the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in this initiative of support to our South African partners. We are confident that support provided under the Programme will go some way towards assisting the Department of Social Development in its initiatives to tackle a number of difficult issues head-on."

For further information contact
Thomas Zeindl-Cronin
Programme Manager
UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa
E-mail:thomas.cronin@unodc.org

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