Multi-Sector Responses for Improved Shelter Services to Abused Women

Lavender Hill townhall meeting on 'Enhancing state and community response to Gender Based Violence'
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Lavender Hill townhall meeting on 'Enhancing state and community response to Gender Based Violence'

In their ‘Enhancing State Response to Gender Based Violence (GBV)’ project, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, have produced two provincial shadow reports, one in Gauteng and one in the Western Cape, that assessed the provision and funding of shelters for abused women by the state while considering whether these shelters had sufficient resources to meet the myriad of practical, material, health and legal needs of women and children exiting abusive relationships. The reports were intended to support the lobbying and advocacy of the GBV sector for greater resource allocation for shelters.

On the 15th of August 2013, 23 people representing the departments of Social Development and Health; members of parliament; parliamentary researchers; and civil society organisations attended a roundtable to engage on the report’s identified challenges and to explore multi-sector responses for improved shelter services and access to resources.

The purpose of the roundtable was to:

  • share the findings of the reports, including the outcomes of additional research undertaken which costed shelter services to women and children;
  • provide a platform in which additional related issues could be raised;
  • build recognition regarding the responsibilities and requirements of a wider range of stakeholders in relation to shelters;
  • encourage the development of connections and alliances between stakeholders, in particular government departments that play lesser roles in the shelter environment; and
  • encourage commitment to programmes or actions to address needs and gaps in service provision.

The event, which was expertly facilitated by Samantha Waterhouse, coordinator of the Community Law Centre’s Parliamentary Programme, produced lively, encouraging and positive discussions. We hope that this is merely the beginning of an ongoing process in developing much needed responses to this issue.

Watch this space for a report on the outcomes of the event! In the interim a policy brief is available for download which summarises the findings of both reports; sets out a list of recommendations to address identified challenges; and analyses the extent by which an increase in funding that one of the profiled shelters has received following the development of the shadow reports is able to meet the needs of a family currently residing at the shelter.

More on the Enhancing State Response to Gender Based Violence (GBV) project