Abused mentally, physically and emotionally by her husband for 15 years, Nadia Louw says at first she did not believe she could be helped at St Anne’s Home. But after living there for three months she finally feels she is at home. Louw is one of thousands of women victims of abuse and domestic violence who seek help in shelters. But shelter managers say funding is a major problem, writes GroundUp.
Through the support of the HBF and NSM journalism fellowship, youth reporters in South Africa use the platform of radio to speak out against gender based violence and domestic violence. The fellowship was undertaken in partnership with the Children’s Radio Foundation.
“When I ran to the bathroom, locked the door behind me thinking I would be safe, he would kick a hole through that door and come through...I had to be obedient because I didn’t want to end up dead.” With these chilling words commences a video on the provision of shelter for abused women. Watch it here...
In his 2018 budget speech, Minister Gigaba emphasised the need to “lend a hand in addressing society's most pressing challenges”. Among a myriad of social challenges facing our country are the ever-present, persisting rates of violence against women and children. Shelters play a critical role in providing women with reprieve from domestic violence - women who, by and large, are economically disenfranchised. It is with this in mind, that the minister's budget must be interrogated.
Social protection is an important safety net for the poor yet not all will benefit from this. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba recently announced government’s plan to increase its spending on social protection from R193.4 billion in the next financial year to R223.9 billion by 2021. Civil society organisations, however, questioned if this commitment to social protection will include sufficient funding for non-profit organisations, including shelters that provide services to vulnerable women and children who fall victim to domestic abuse.
While February is widely regarded as the month of love, statistics suggest that for this month alone approximately 84 women may be murdered by someone they [had] loved. Recent research by the HBF and NSM reveals that shelters are an effective strategy to the prevention of intimate partner violence, with less than a quarter of women returning to an abusive partner, yet, research has also found that serious funding gaps significantly undermines the efforts of shelters.
While government has set minimum standards for shelters housing abused women, it fails to offer adequate support to uphold these requirements. The Weekend Argus recently spoke to some shelter managers and survivors of abuse to shed more light on their experiences of providing/accessing shelters.
Yesterday, the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) secured a significant judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal relating to the burden that single parents, particularly single mothers, face when seeking to ensure access to education for their children. EELC’s client, Michelle Saffer, struggled for more than 6 years to secure a vindication of her rights - her courage and tenacity has paved the way for greater certainty and clarity for parents in her position. The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) entered the case as a friend of the court, highlighting the impact of the current fee exemption scheme in fee paying schools on women who are similarly placed as Ms Saffer and the manner in which the current framework discriminates against women.