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State opens 12 new GBV shelters

Safety services from 72 hours to 6 months

To find out how to access the shelters, you must visit your nearest social development office, or contact the GBV Command Centre.
To find out how to access the shelters, you must visit your nearest social development office, or contact the GBV Command Centre.
Image: 123RF/Artit Oubkaew

Twelve unoccupied stated-owned properties have been made available to provide shelter and services to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in Gauteng and the Western Cape. 

This follows the commitment made by public works and infrastructure minister Patricia de Lille in 2019, when she told the joint sitting of the National Assembly that the department would allocate unoccupied state-owned properties to provide shelter to survivors of GBV.

“Six of these shelters are in Gauteng and the other six are in the Western Cape,” she said.

According to the department, the properties were unoccupied because they were no longer required for government purposes. “The properties required medium-to-extensive refurbishments, which were completed by the department before being handed over to the provincial departments of social development,” the department said.

The department of social development (DSD) said most of these shelters can accommodate six to 10 people.

“Some of these shelters operate as white-door safe spaces, which accommodate survivors for 72 hours. Others operate as victim empowerment shelters and Khuseleka One-stop Centres, which can both accommodate survivors for three to six months,” DSD said.

In these shelters, a qualified social worker assists survivors, who receive individual and group counselling, as well as couples therapy, where appropriate. Access to the police, legal aid and courts, and health services are also facilitated.

How to find help

Since shelter information cannot be widely publicised to ensure the safety of survivors, to find out how to access the shelters, you must visit your nearest social development office, or contact the GBV Command Centre (GBVCC), or the South African Police Service (SAPS).

You can also contact the GBVCC toll-free number at 0800-428-428. Alternatively, send a "please call me" by dialling *120* 7867#, or SMS "help" to 31531.

Members of the deaf community can also contact the centre via Skype: Helpme GBV.

For more information, visit www.gbv.org.za.

This article first appeared in GCIS Vuk'uzenzele

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