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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

Abuse casts a ‘long shadow’ over family life – report

The report also found women’s access to psychological and psychiatric services were 'limited'.

A study has proposed a more equitable framework for shelters for abused women.

The report is a collaboration of the Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Southern Africa, National Shelter Movement of South Africa and the Heinrich Boell Foundation.

It describes violence as “casting a long shadow over family life in South Africa”.

It reports that between 2015 and 2016, 275 536 applications for protection from domestic violence were lodged with the courts.

Women sought shelter for a range of reasons, which included violence from another family member, rape and destitution, while others had experienced forced labour, human trafficking or kidnapping and some had been identified as persons at risk of abuse.

The report also found women’s access to psychological and psychiatric services were “limited”. “The department of health must consider how to make mental health services more accessible to shelter residents.”

The report found that:

  • In Gauteng, five shelters accommodated 303 women between October 1, 2010 and September 31, 2011, of whom 147 (49%) had sought shelter specifically for domestic violence.
  • In the Western Cape, 69 (39%) of the 178 women who were accommodated between January and December 2011 in three shelters were escaping abuse from their intimate partners.
  • Of the 65 women in three KwaZulu-Natal shelters between March 1, 2015 and February 28, 2016, 34 (52%) sought protection from abusive intimate partners.
  • In Mpumalanga 264 women were housed by six shelters, of which at least 44 (17%) had sought shelter from domestic violence.

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