New White Door Safe Space to protect abused women

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pretoria – The Department of Social Development will today launch the White Door Safe Space facility in Madibeng in the North West to accommodate abused women.

The event forms part of activities planned during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, which officially kicked off on Tuesday.

The White Door Safe Space is a temporary facility to accommodate and protect abused women against secondary abuse.        

The facility was first initiated by Gauteng Province in 2010 and it now has 27 facilities.  In 2013, the Eastern Cape also adopted the concept and with the help of private sector donations, the province successfully established 100 white door facilities.

The facility makes provision for a room with a bed, chair, food as well as a dignity pack for women who have experienced abuse.

The white door facility will be launched in Madibeng in recognition of the fact that violence against women and children is an obstacle to the achievement of gender equality, development and peace as stipulated in the Constitution of South Africa and enshrined in the Bill of Rights. 

The launch is also part of the department’s Mikondzo Project, a service delivery model which seeks to offer government services to poor communities in an efficient manner. 

The department also established a Gender Based Command Centre in March 2014, which provides support and counselling to victims of gender-based violence.

It allows social worker agents to provide telephonic support and counselling to callers and can direct the victim’s case to a social worker close to them. The call centre operates through a toll free number: 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV) or callers can request a social worker to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free from any cell phone).

Long term goal

According to the department, government hopes to establish these facilities across all nine provinces through private sector assistance and donor funding. 

“The plan is also to link these facilities with the Gender Based Command Centre, an initiative which will serve as an alert for the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster. 

“Sometimes perpetrators of gender based violence, especially violence against women and children, follow their targets to these facilities and if there is a link between police stations and white door facilities, it become easier for police officers on duty to quickly respond and prevent secondary abuse,” the department said.

Programme of Action

Government has recognised the challenge of violence against women and children in South Africa and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster has to implement programmes to ensure that “All people in South Africa are and feel safe”.

The Department of Social Development, as the lead department in the Victim Empowerment Programme and convener of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on addressing violence against women and children, is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Inter-sectoral Programme of Action to address violence against women and children. – SAnews.gov.za

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