Launch of a Women Only Substance Abuse Treatment Centre | Western Cape Government


Launch of a Women Only Substance Abuse Treatment Centre

1 April 2015



Date: 01 April 2015

Launch of a Women Only Substance Abuse treatment centre.

Kensington Treatment Centre (KTC) in Maitland provides an in-patient treatment programme for service users who have a substance abuse problem. The centre was established in July 2009 through a partnership between the Dept. Social Development and Lukhanyo Clinic.  Since its inception, the centre accommodated both males and females from the age of 18 years and older who are substance or alcohol dependants. All service users enter a 6-8 week programme and referrals are done by social workers either employed by the Department of Social Development or an NGO.

The need has been identified to accommodate a women only treatment programme for substance dependant women as women with substance dependency treatment has special needs and challenges that are specific to women . Many women who abuse drugs do so as a result of a specific traumatic event, such as physical or sexual abuse.

Research has shown that physical and sexual trauma followed by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common in drug-abusing women than in men seeking treatment. In view of this, women’s treatment would differ from that of males.

Due to this need, Kensington treatment centre has been identified to accommodate only women as from 1st May 2015.

De Novo Rehabilitation Centre, a state managed centre in Kraaifontein will accommodate all male substance dependant persons. KTC will have its last admissions for males in March 2015.

Many women in recovery find the female-only treatment programmes delivered within substance treatment centres to be especially comforting, supportive and rewarding.

The core principles of gender-responsive treatment at KTC will include:

Recognizing the role and significance of personal relationships in women’s lives.
Addressing the unique health concerns of women.
Acknowledging the importance and role of socio-economic issues and differences among women.
Promoting cultural competency that is specific to women.
Endorsing a developmental perspective.
Attending to the relevance and presence of various caregiver roles that women assume throughout their lives.
Recognizing that culturally-ascribed roles and gender expectations affect society’s attitudes toward women with substance abuse.
Adopting a trauma-informed perspective.
Using a strengths-based treatment model for women.
Incorporating an integrated and multidisciplinary treatment approach for women.
Maintaining a gender-responsive treatment environment across all settings.
Supporting development of gender competency specific to the issues of women.

Research has proven that women with a substance abuse problem have a higher level of medical difficulties and higher mortality compared to males. Women also have unique vulnerabilities, such as pregnancy and menstrual related problems. Furthermore, studies have shown that women using drugs has a higher comorbidity of two or more psychiatric disorders (depression, anxiety, mood disorders) compared to men. Additionally, they are victims to abuse and their impaired judgement may lead to increase sexual risk behaviours.

The opportunity to design and develop a women focussed programme is welcomed by most stakeholders working with in the substance treatment field.  Service users are admitted at no cost and admissions will include statutory, involuntary as well as voluntary referrals in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, 2008.

Aftercare services will be provided by the referring social workers within the community where the service user resides in.

To obtain referral forms or more information contact:


De Novo Treatment Centre:

Russel Kinnear

PH: 021 9881138

FAX: 021 9880426



Kensington Treatment Centre

Petula Chamberlain

PH: 0215119169/0215101735/0215110188

FAX: 0215101057



For further information on community-based treatment options and in-patient treatment centres contact the Department toll-free on 0800 220 250.









Media Enquiries: 

Esther Lewis

Head of Communication

Department of Social Development

Tel: 021 438 5445

Cell: 072 608 4501