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About SaVI

The Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) facilitates debate, research and interventions across the university with a focus on understanding and responding to violence, and promoting safety. The initiative brings together scholars from a number of departments, centres and units across UCT. These include, but are not limited to:

African Centre for Cities
Centre of Criminology
Centre for Social Science Research
Department of Psychology
Department of Social Development
Department of Surgery
Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit
Children’s Institute
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health
Department of Political Studies
Department of Sociology
School of Public Health and Family Medicine


Scholars at UCT have been working on issues relating to safety and violence for decades, but collaborative research across disciplines was infrequent. In late 2009, in response to an appeal for proposals within UCT, Associate Professor Cathy Ward of the Department of Psychology consulted with scholars and researchers from across the campus and then proposed the establishment of SaVI. A series of meetings and workshops were held to determine the vision, mission and focus of SaVI, with a Steering Committee being created in 2010.

SaVI made its public debut on 1 April 2011, and is one of four multi-disciplinary strategic ventures at UCT. The Initiative covers one of the national priorities – crime and violence – identified by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Max Price, when he was first appointed. These were areas of interest and concern – along with poverty, climate change and education – he wanted to turn into key research drives at the university.

The current Director of SaVI (Guy Lamb) was appointed in October 2012.