Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre

Research Programme

Since its establishment in 1996 Tshwaranang has continuously produced and published highly regarded and relevant research in the field of gender based violence and access to justice.

 In 2015 the Tshwaranang Research Program works with two main goals:

  1. To generate high quality scientific research that adds to the existing knowledge base and is relevant and of practical use to efforts to address gender based violence
  2. To ensure that Tshwaranang’s programming is underpinned by a strong evidence based approach to inform best and most effective practice.

Tshwaranang’s research program will inform our training and capacity building activities, our advocacy approaches and it will guide Tshwaranang’s efforts to identify and promote preventative and responsive approaches to addressing gender based violence in South Africa.

Through the quality of our research, past, present and future, Tshwaranang will build a knowledge management system that provides a resource base for anyone seeking literary information on reducing gender based violence through access to justice

Current Research Projects:

A Community Response to addressing Violence against Women:

 This research aims to examine the context specific social, psychological, economic, and gender related factors that increase alcohol related Violence against Women in the Kuruman in the Northern Cape Province. In so doing it also outlines the magnitude of the twin problems of alcohol abuse and Violence against Women.  Based on the findings of this research community lead interventions will be developed and implemented.

Latest Research findings: Alcohol-Related Violence in Kuruman in the Nothern Cape Province

Understanding Barriers and Opportunities to the use of medico-legal evidence in the prosecution of sexual violence in South Africa:

Crime statistics relating to sexual violence, including rape and sexual assault, are exceptionally high in South Africa, even though most cases are believed to go unreported. The failure to arrest and effectively prosecute offenders for these crimes is a major barrier to the realisation of women’s right to justice in South Africa.

Medico-legal evidence relates to the collection, documentation and utilisation of forensic evidence in the prosecution of cases of sexual violence. Globally, including in southern and eastern Africa, there is a high reliance on the use of medico-legal evidence in the successful prosecution of sexual violence cases; highlighting the importance of collecting medico-legal evidence. Yet, it appears that, in South Africa, medico-legal evidence is neither collected nor processed in ways that support successful prosecution. This research by HEARD and Tshwaranang sought to understand why this was the case.

Tshwaranang and HEARD are engaged in collaborative research, supported by the AIDS Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) that aims to determine the functioning of the medico-legal process in the prosecution of sexual violence cases in South Africa. We are mapping the medico-legal process in the prosecution of sexual violence in four provinces, namely Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. 

This piece of research is part of a larger research project ‘Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights: barriers and boundaries’ being carried out by Tshwaranang, HEARD, Witwatersrand University and the Human Sciences Research Council. The report attached to the link below presents some of the baseline findings from this research.  The preliminary findings relating to the medico-legal research can be found on page 18

Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights_Barriers & Boundaries

Making Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights Real in South Africa: Barriers to the Use of Medico-Legal Evidence in South Africa

For further information on Tshwaranang’s Research Program contact:

Patience Mungwari Mpani

Research Officer

Tel: (011) 403 4267

E-mail: Patience@tlac.org.za


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9th Floor, OPH Building, 112 Main Street Johannesburg.

PO Box 31006
Braamfontein 2017
South Africa.

Tel: +27 11 331 0088