Many gender-based violence shelters need funding. This was the finding of the report released by the Commission for Gender Equality on Monday, 24 June.
The Commissioner for the Commission for Gender Equality, Nthabiseng Moleko, spoke about this report in an eNCA interview.
“All shelters in SA are really crying out for funding – particularly those funded by the department.”
Shelters don’t always receive funding on time
Moleko added that the shelters funded by the government often did not receive their funds on time.
Some shelters were highly equipped and had enough staff while others were located in a converted shipping container.
“Some were paid late putting pressure on the work required. Minimum standards for infrastructure for all shelters were not the same.”
The report also looked at shelters across the country. Moleko stated that the Department of Social Development seemed to not have a systemic model for funding shelters.
Moleko stressed that the department needed to look at the unique needs of the shelters in different provinces.
“One should look at the needs of the centres provincially and regionally and allocating a sufficient budget according to the needs of the shelters. Not only funding according to a fixed model that doesn’t look at the needs of the shelters in the regions.”
Moleko added that the poorly funded shelters have become a crucial issue because of the high incidents of gender-based violence.
“We have five times higher global average of femicide, highest incident of rape in the world – glaringly high number of protection orders per annum.”
Discrimination in shelters
Moleko said that the biggest problem uncovered by the report was that one of the shelters would not admit male children above a certain age.
“Imagine that you are running from a perpetrator that is trying to kill you. There should be no discrimination in shelters.”
Clear policies needed to help victims of gender-based violence
Moleko stated that shelters for victims of gender-based violence needed clear policies and budget allocations.
“I think from a policy perspective we are saying we need a clear gender budgeting framework or indicators. We need budget allocations specifically targeted to deal with the problem of gender-based violence. Not only with shelters but also with the policing and the justice clusters.”
Women’s empowerment critical to combating gender-based violence
Many victims of gender-based violence have often stayed with their abusers because they were not able to support themselves.
“They often stay with their abusers because they have no other option due to financial reliance.”
Moleko recommended that there needs to be a focus on skills development for the victims of gender-based violence.
She added that shelters need to look at partnering with training service providers and government-funded education institutions.