Dealing with violence against women in South Africa: A case study of the changing responses at the Saartjie Baartman centre for women and children in Cape Town (1999-2018)
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Against the backdrop of a pandemic of violence against women (VAW) particularly in the Cape Flats areas of Cape Town, this mini-thesis reviews the history and programmes of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC) in the Western Cape. As a multidisciplinary service centre involving multiple agencies for abused women and children, the Centre’s services include shelter, counselling, job skills empowerment, legal advice and training, an empowerment programme, community outreach project, substance abuse programme and a child protection programme. In 2012, the Centre was almost closed down because of serious financial issues. This study periodizes the Centre and its relations with the state, NGOs and tracks changes in programmes that were put in place and ongoing challenges. The thesis included secondary data, reviewing SBCWC Annual Reports, contextual information received from telephonic and zoom interviews, as well as data from a questionnaire. My findings show that the SBCWC has indeed been dynamic and changed programmes; and made provision for new programmes that holistically address the issues around VAW and empower women who have been abused. However, as demand for the Centre’s services continued to increase there is more that the state and other NGOs should do.