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Domestic violence shelters grossly underfunded

Domestic abuse victim's shelters are running short of funding.
Domestic abuse victim's shelters are running short of funding.
Image: Stock

One in five women in South Africa will experience violence at the hands of at least one of her intimate partners. Yet shelter services providing support and counselling for these women are chronically underfunded‚ according to the findings of a costing report.

The report was released on Monday at the Glen Hove Auditorium in Johannesburg.

The EU-supported “What is Rightfully Due? Costing the Operations of Domestic Violence Shelters” presented what they call a “clear framework and logic” for a set of standard service offerings and core costs that they believed the department of social development should be responsible for.

Some of these included:

  • A proposed monthly rate of R7‚223.72 for a woman and two children. At a daily rate this equates to just slightly more than R84 per woman per day and R76 per child per day - a far fairer rate than the current unit rate of between R9 and R70‚ depending on the province.


  • More adequate client-to-staff ratios such as three housemothers instead of the current practice of two or even one in some provinces;


  • A proposed monthly subsidy of R3‚840 (based on the national minimum wage of R20 per hour) instead of the provincial allocations of R2‚500 or at worst R600.

The current costing model was calculated by KPMG in 2013.

Wits researcher Lisa Vetten‚ who presented the research‚ said the department of social development needed to look at the work shelters were doing in order to properly fund and support them.

She said shelters for abused women played a vital role in supporting women and children victims‚ many of whom needed counselling services‚ child care and education.

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