The Long-term Impact of Shelters on the Lives of Abused Women
This publication is the final in a series of reports that the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa have produced in relation to their ‘Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender Based Violence (GBV): Paying the True Costs’ project’.
GBV, and to be more specific, intimate partner violence (IPV), is a significant contributing factor to many women’s deaths in South Africa. Women who survive IPV, live with significant physical and psychological trauma, and their children too are negatively impacted by witnessing their mother’s abuse or themselves get embroiled in it. A variety of factors make leaving the abusive relationship extremely difficult. Shelters for women and their children can, however facilitate this process.
Shelters literally make the difference between life and death, providing women and children with invaluable services. Yet, shelters are often undervalued, with those rendering such services often facing precarious challenges. Understanding women’s experience of the variety of services offered by shelters and the factors that aid or hinder their long-term recovery from abuse is crucial to improving government and non-profit sector policy and practice.
This study focuses on women’s experiences of having sought, and made use of shelter services, and those who render such services. It attempts to answer to what extent shelters are effectively able to meet survivors’ immediate needs, as well as what other interventions, strategies and/or resources are required to meet their needs in the long-term.