Disrupting gender-based violence: The role of private security


South Africa suffers from pervasive gender-based violence that finds expression in, amongst others, domestic and intimate partner violence, rape, sexual harassment, and femicide. While the government and civil society organizations have implemented various measures to combat gender-based violence, the private security sector has traditionally been overlooked in prevention and mitigation strategies. This qualitative study set out to determine how private security can partner with the South African Police Service and community organizations to assist in the fight against gender-based violence. Data were collected from 12 managers of 5 private security companies operating in Pretoria East, South Africa. The participants stated that their companies receive calls related to domestic violence daily, but that they are often unable to meaningfully intervene because the sector does not have specific guidelines and policies on how to assist in such cases. Nevertheless, where possible private security officers aim to defuse the domestic conflict, ensure the physical safety of victims, and support the police when arrests are made. Since security companies have more resources (vehicles and personnel) than the police, they are frequently first to respond when called upon to intervene in domestic violence. The study suggests that, in addressing the gap in policy, the private security sector can be a vital partner in the fight against gender-based violence


DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v10i2p137

Keywords: Gender-based violence, Private security, private security sector, disrupting, partnership, policy guidelines, South Africa


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