Achieving social change on gender-based violence: a report on the impact evaluation of Soul City's fourth series

Soc Sci Med. 2005 Dec;61(11):2434-45. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.04.035. Epub 2005 Jul 11.


The Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication--a South African multi-media health promotion project--together with the National Network on Violence Against Women, formulated an intervention to address domestic violence. Recognising that behavioural change interventions aimed solely at individuals have limited impact, the intervention was designed to impact at multiple mutually reinforcing levels; individual, community and socio-political environment. The intervention and its evaluation results are presented. Soul City successfully reached 86%, 25% and 65% of audiences through television, print booklets and radio, respectively. On an individual level there was a shift in knowledge around domestic violence including 41% of respondents hearing about the helpline. Attitude shifts were also associated with the intervention, with a 10% increase in respondents disagreeing that domestic violence was a private affair. There was also a 22% shift in perceptions of social norms on this issue. Qualitative data analysis suggests the intervention played a role in enhancing women's and communities' sense of efficacy, enabling women to make more effective decisions around their health and facilitating community action. The evaluation concluded that implementation of the Domestic Violence Act can largely be attributed to the intervention. While demonstrating actual reductions in levels of domestic violence was not possible, the evaluation shows a strong association between exposure to intervention components and a range of intermediary factors indicative of, and necessary to bring about social change. This paper reports on the evaluation, discusses its limitations and challenges as well as lessons learned regarding multi-level interventions on domestic violence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Domestic Violence*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Change*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • South Africa / epidemiology