Against the backdrop of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, on Monday, 6 December 2021, the Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, engaged the provincial Department of Social Developments (DSDs) Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) partners who are funded to manage the six newly established shelters for victims of gender-based violence in the Western Cape.
The purpose of today’s discussion was to share the lessons learned and challenges presented at the respective facilities since opening earlier this year.
The opening of these shelters comes after the initial announcement by the National Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure on 4 March 2020 that six National government-owned properties in the Western Cape would be made available as safe havens for women and children.
The respective properties are situated in the Garden Route, West Coast and the Central Karoo areas, expanding the Western Cape’s safety net for the vulnerable women and children, particularly in our rural areas.
“We are incredibly grateful to have an additional six safe spaces for victims of gender-based violence in rural areas of the province, at a time when the need for these services is rising sharply,” said Minister Fernandez.
“It would be remiss of me not to mention that the establishment of these safe havens for women and children in such a swift and efficient manner would not have been possible without the support of NPO partners and other key stakeholders. Our success in this regard confirms the power of partnerships and collaboration!” added Minister Fernandez.
“I am also proud to note that the Western Cape is the only province to have completed the refurbishments of the properties transferred by the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to be used specifically as safe havens for women and children, “ continued Minister Fernandez.
As the custodians of the properties and in line with section 38 of the Public Finance Management Act (1999), the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the buildings, while the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) is responsible for the operational costs of the properties.
The newly established shelters offer critical support to victims of gender-based violence aimed not only at responding to the needs of victims but also at the prevention of gender-based violence. Victim empowerment services rendered at the six properties will include, amongst others, psycho-social support, healthcare, and legal services.
All the respective shelters are accessible 24 hours, seven days a week. The provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) currently funds 25 shelters that provide victim empowerment services. For the period between 1 January 2021 to 30 September 2021, the DSD, with the support of its NPO partners, provided psycho-social support services to 14 351 victims of gender-based violence.
“I encourage anyone who has experienced gender-based violence, or who has been impacted by it, to reach out for help and start the journey towards healing,” concluded Minister Fernandez.
Where to go for Help?
· Gender-Based Violence Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428 or dial *120*7867#
· National Shelter Movement (24-hour line): 0800 001 005
· Police: 10111
· The Human Trafficking Resource Line: 0800 222 777
· Department of Social Development Toll-Free line: 0800 220 250
· Department of Social Development Email: GBV365DAYS@westerncape.gov.za /
· SASSA 0800 60 10 11
· CHILDLINE: 116