Victim Empowerment Programme services reach 5701 GBV victims in the Western Cape | Western Cape Government

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Victim Empowerment Programme services reach 5701 GBV victims in the Western Cape

10 August 2021

Gender-based violence (GBV) , commonly referred to as the ‘Shadow-Pandemic’ is a serious threat to the safety and well-being of women and children. The United Nations (UN) reports that one in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner, and that since the global outbreak of COVID-19, GBV cases have further  increased.

The implementation of alert level restrictions under the Disaster Management Act has been a tool used by the National Government to limit the spread of COVID-19 and alleviate its impact on the South African healthcare system. However, the restrictions on human movement has also had unintended consequences, such as limiting access to support services for women and children experiencing GBV.

During the period starting from 1 April 2021 and ending  30 June 2021, a total of 5227 victims of GBV accessed DSD’s psycho-social support services. A further 474 victims of crime and violence accessed services in shelters funded by the department.

This means that the total number of victims of GBV and crime accessing Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) services provided by the department is 5701, a sharp increase from the total of 2518 victims of GBV and crime accessing DSD services during the same period in the prior year.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, the provincial DSD continues to work on providing victims of GBV access to essential support services.

The DSD’s Victim Empowerment Programme, supported by service providers in the Western Cape offers a variety of services to support GBV victims which include:

•    ensuring that victims receive emotional and practical support,

•    assisting victims with the management of trauma, 

•    ensuring that victims are educated to identify the symptoms of post-traumatic stress,

•    referring victims to professional services where necessary,

•    provision of court support services during the criminal justice process is dealt with efficiently,

•    promoting the rights and responsibilities of victims through advocacy,

•    ensuring that victims are aware of their rights,

•    ensuring that ongoing victimisation is prevented and

•    providing a shelter service.

A shelter is a place where victims of crime and violence are able to live for a period of one day up to approximately three months depending on the needs of the victims.

The shelter assists with meeting basic needs such as:

•    providing a safe place to live,

•    providing protection, food and clothing,

•    providing  emotional support services such as trauma debriefing and therapeutic counselling,

•    providing information on developing skills, victim’s rights and capacity building,

•    support in preparation for court procedures,

•    programmes focused on alleged perpetrators and

•    gender based violence prevention programmes.

A shelter for victims of crime and violence does not provide statutory services to children; therefore shelters cannot accommodate children without their parents/ legal guardians.

“One woman and/or child violated, is one too many. By working together, we can have #Onevoice united against gender-based violence- 365 days of the year,” said the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.

For more information:

We would also like to remind the public that the GBV Command Centre number 0800 428 428 is accessible 24 hours a day, to assist with GBV cases.

Should you suspect any incidences of abuse and/or human trafficking, you may also report it by contacting:

  • Western Cape Women’s Shelter Movement: 082 903 8739
  • Gender-Based Violence Command Centre: 0800 428 428
  • Email:
  • Police: 10111
  • Childline: 0861 322 322
  • South African National Human Trafficking Hotline: 0800 222 777
  • Child Welfare SA: 0861 424 453
Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949