White Door Safe Space is a temporary facility or shelter which accommodates and protects abused women against secondary abuse.
The facility which makes provision for a room with a bed, chair, food as well as a dignity pack for abused women was first initiated during the year 2010 by Gauteng Province which currently has 27 white door facilities.
In 2013, Eastern Cape Province also adopted the white door facility and through the help of the private sector donation, the province successfully established 100 white door facilities.
The department's long term goal is to establish these facilities across nine provinces of South Africa 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.
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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.
South Africa a hotbed of violence against women and children
South Africa is characterised by high levels of crime and victimisation. What is even more disturbing is the fact that victims of this violence are the vulnerable groups such as women and children. Violence against women and children in South Africa has reached endemic proportions.
The government of South Africa has recognised this challenge of crime and violence against women and children, and responded by putting as the priority area, the fight against crime and violence against women and children as reflected in the Mid-Term Strategic Framework for 2009-2014.
Shocking statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO) reveal that between 40 and 70 per cent of female murder victims are killed by their husbands or boyfriends in South Africa. According to the South African Police Service 175 880 crimes against women and 66 387 sexual offences were committed in 2012/13.
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The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster has been mandated to implement strategies and programmes to ensure the realisation of outcome three: "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.
The Programme of Action (2013-2018) under pillar three: *Care and Support* identifies establishment of victim empowerment centres and shelters for abused women as critical service points for victims of gender based violence in ensuring that victims access services such as trauma debriefing, counselling, victim support and containment, legal guidance and protection.
White door facility will be launched 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.
Violence is the violation of women and children's human rights and freedom. The elimination and prevention of all forms of Violence against Women and Children has become a serious concern for the Government.
The launch of white door facility is part of Mikondzo Project (Mikondzo means “footprint” in Xitonga), a service delivery model which seeks to render government services to poor communities in an efficient manner.
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This will further improve Social Development's efforts of eradicating the prevalence of gender based violence through Gender Based Violence Command Centre.
The 24-hour call centre is dedicated to provide support and counselling to victims of gender based violence. The toll free number to call is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV) to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling.
The Command Centre is working in collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS), allowing calls to receive priority and be escalated to a police station nearest to them where necessary.
In addition to providing immediate intervention for victims of gender based violence, the Command Centre will also assist in the prosecution of perpetrators as information collected throughout the intervention process by all role players can be made available to the courts as evidence.
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