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Perceptions of Policies on Gender-Based Violence at the Workplace: A Perspective of Congolese Refugee Women Living in Durban, South Africa

Yvonne Kabongo


Published: 2022/12/01


The study explores the knowledge of Congolese refugee women living in Durban about gender-based violence policies and the effectiveness of their implementation. The study first explores the extent of gender-based violence in the workplace, and then examines the women’s perceptions and understanding of gender-based violence policies and their effectiveness. This is a qualitative study. Face-to-face interviews with 7 female Congolese refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo were conducted, as well as with three leaders of humanitarian organizations assisting refugees. The findings demonstrate that violence against refugee women in the workplace is prevalent. The study also revealed that refugees are aware of gender-based violence policies, they however have no clear knowledge of how such policies function and whether they apply to refugee women. The refugee women believed that gender-based violence policies are ineffective because the refugees work in precarious employment with little protection, and their vulnerable socio-economic conditions do not allow them to access such protection. When faced with gender-based violence, many refugee women turned to humanitarian and community-based organizations including faith-based ones. These organizations have already put in place certain methods and programs to assist refugee women who are exposed to gender-based violence. Keywords: Refugees, South Africa, Informal economy, Workplace violence

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