Shafeeqah Cassim commenced her studies at the University of Cape Town in 2014. She has since graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science in 2016, a Bachelor of Laws in 2018 and a Masters in Commercial Law in 2019. Whilst at UCT Shafeeqah was involved in various community service programs such as Beauty Behind Bars (an initiative which seeks to provide hope to people being rehabilitated in Pollsmoor), LAWCO (a legal welfare organisation) and Students for Law and Social Justice (a program which sought to provide individuals in Khayelitsha with information concerning legal processes). Furthermore, Shafeeqah has been a member of the Golden Key Honour Society since 2016. In addition to the community service programs Shafeeqah was involved in, she also became a mentor to fellow students in the law faculty. Aside from her academics she is an avid bodyboarder and enjoys spending time with her cat.

Blog | Covid-19 and its Impact on Gender Based Violence

The Effect of the Lockdown on Victims of Abuse

The South African government’s swift and ruthless response to the Covid-19 outbreak was praised by numerous South Africans. A great deal of the South African population fundamentally believed that the imposition of the lockdown would essentially disrupt the chain of transmission which as is evidenced has been the case. For this sector of the population the demand made by the government for South Africans to remain within the sanctity of their own home therefore appeared to be a reasonable and valid request to “flatten the curve” of the virus. However for an overwhelming number of South Africans who are victims of domestic violence the declaration made by the President to lockdown the country appeared to be a potential death sentence. While being confined to our homes may be a means of safety and security, for victims of abuse it is essentially a place of fear and dread.

The Implication of the Lockdown for Victims of Abuse

It is a well-known fact that South Africa is home to the largest number of violent acts being committed to women globally. On average the femicide rate in South Africa is five times higher than the global average rate recorded with sexual assault cases increasing every year. During 2018 and 2019 an astonishing 114 rapes were being committed per day to women which is an estimated increase of 5% from the previous year.

In addition to the above South Africa essentially has the largest number of women being killed by their intimate partner in the world. This has occurred despite the establishment of various initiatives such as the ‘Sixteen Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children’ campaign held every year to raise awareness of intimate partner violence. Despite its establishment in 1998 50% of women who have been killed in our country have been murdered by individuals with whom they have an intimate relationship with. Domestic violence is therefore a serious and prevailing problem in South Africa which occurs on a continual basis.

As a result of the imposition of the lockdown and its subsequent extension of two weeks family members are compelled to stay at home together in close proximity to one another. The restrictive confinement of the lockdown coupled with the added stress of deductions or total loss of incomes has resulted in heightened levels of anger, tension and helplessness brewing between individuals in a household. As a result of this unfavourable and unfortunate situation hostility and aggression is easily able to be triggered within a household during this period of isolation.

Since the declaration of the lockdown the number of domestic violence cases has significantly increased which is no doubt a combination of the factors listed above. Victims of abuse are now placed in an even more precarious position as a result of the complete lockdown imposed by the South African government. As a result of this complete lockdown this has meant complete isolation of many victims to their homes. This is due to the fact that various public spaces have been required to close coupled with the fact that movement has been restricted. This has led to a restriction in the interaction which victims can have with support structures such as friends, neighbours and other family members. As a result of this confinement many victims of abuse feel as though they are trapped with no way out.

Support during Isolation

Despite the fact that the people of South Africa are under a severe and restrictive lockdown this does not mean that you are obligated to stay in an abusive relationship. If you do not feel as though you are safe in your home during this period there is a way to seek help and thereby escape the abusive situation you find yourself in at home.

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship please get in contact with the Gender Based Violence Command Centre which is a government programme intended to provide support to victims of abuse and achieve the elimination of all violence against women and children. The Gender Based Violence Command Centre fundamentally provides a 24 hour emergency contact number which you can call on: 0800 428 428. In addition to this helpline one can make use of the ‘please call me function’ on: *120*7867#. The centre additionally caters to members of the deaf community on Skype via the handle: ‘Helpme GBV’. Lastly the command centre has an SMS line for disabled persons. One simply has to SMS the word ‘Help’ to 31531. If the command centre feels as though the police are urgently needed in a particular situation they will easily be able to transfer your call.

Furthermore during this quarantine period the Thuthuzela Care centre will remain operational throughout the country as an essential service to provide medical support to victims of rape. Please find the contact numbers for the care centre in each province:

Aside from the above there are additional organisations which will remain open during the lockdown which will provide support to victims of domestic violence.

  • Masimanyane Women’s Rights International: This organisation similarly to the organisations listed above provides counselling and support to victims. You can contact counsellors on Whatsapp or you can simply call them on the numbers listed below:
  • Thandiwe Mkutu – 082 852 4440
  • Nonkosi Mntu – 063 972 6178
  • Tamara Ngemntu ­­– 083 416 1626
  • Ntomboxolo Ntengo – 078 882 9390
  • Portia Donti – 078 402 4490
  • Linda Mafanya – 073 546 7600
  • Claudine Dookens – 062 144 9179
  • Felicia Boqwana – 072 727 1106
  • Albertina Sam – 071 518 7773

 

  • TEARS: Tears is essentially a women led foundation which provides assistance to victims throughout the country. The TEARS foundation assists victims of abuse in finding emergency shelters and has counsellors on hand to help victims cope with the stress and anxiety they are currently experiencing. You can contact TEARS on their 24 hour SMS service on: *134*7355#. Alternatively you can email TEARS on: info@tears.co.za or you can call their hotline on: 010 590 5920.

 

  • People Opposed to Women Abuse (POWA): POWA essentially provides counselling to victims in person or over the phone via: 011 642 4345.

 

In addition to the above please find a referral directory of all of the women’s shelters in South Africa and how to obtain an interim protection order during the lockdown:


EASTERN CAPE

No Area Shelter Contact Telephone     Cell # Email
1 Cathcart Ikhwezi Women Support Centre Bantu Nkwentsha 045 843 2110 072 270 3547 ikhwezi@hazeldean.co.za
2 East London, Southernwood Victory House Gaye Taylor 043 722 6104 086 274 2909 admin@cmrel.co.za/manager@cmrel.co.za
3 East London, Southernwood Masimanyane Shelter Chrislynn MoonieyanNSM

Provincial Representative

043 743 9169 081 247 6056 chrislynn@masimanyane.co.za
4 Jeffrey’s Bay On Eagles Wings

Multipurpose Centre

Mercy Cwayi 042 293 3085 072 692 8392 Oneagleswings@telkomsa.net
5 King Williams Town Khanyisa Victim

Empowerment Centre

Zanele Qegu 043 642 1646 071 715 8015 khanyisavep@gmail.com
6 Uitenhage Kwanobuhle Outreach Centre

(government-run shelter)

Adelette Philips 041 978 1499 adelette123@gmail.com
7 Port Elizabeth BET Sheekoom Gary Koekemoer 041 582 3321 084 570 1185 garyshell@myconnection.co.za

 

FREE STATE

No Area Shelter Contact Telephone    Fax # Cell # Email
1 Bethlehem Child & Family Welfare Ellen Mofokeng 058 717 3999 058 303 4701 071 111 5816 ksorgbhm@bcfw.org.za
2 Parys Tumahole Victim Support Centre Motlalepule Pule 056 819 8881 056 819 0641 073 645 9283 motlalepule.pule@gmail.com
3 QwaQwa Thusanang Advice Centre Shelter Busisiwe Hadebe 058 713 6074 058 713 6074 079 165 6245 tadvice@telkomsa.net
4 Welkom Goldfields Family Advice Organisation Sarah LekaleNSM Provincial Representative 057 396 6153 057 352 5854 072 144 7171 lekalese@webmail.co.za

 

KWA-ZULU NATAL

No Area Shelter Contact Telephone    Fax # Cell # Email
1 Dundee Dundee Crisis Centre Mrs C Bradley 034 212 5406 079 522 2398 cc@dundeekzn.co.za
2 Durban Kerr House Dane Elsworth/Philile Blose 031 303 2912 031 303 2912 081 205 3710 kerrhouse@telkomsa.net
3 Durban Kenilworth Respite Centre Sabera TimolNSM Provincial Representative 031 207 6483 072 446 3337 krc@telkomsa.net
4 Pietermaritzburg Abrina Esther House Nokutula Zwane 033 345 5843 033 345 2818 072 713 1285 ijestherhouse@futurenet.co.za
5 Pietermaritzburg The Haven Goodness Nxumalo 033 394 0228 033 394 0228 083 870 7043 thehaven@telkomsa.net
6 Pinetown Open Door Crisis Centre Thora Mansfield 031 709 2679 031 709 2468 thora@opendoor.org.za
7 Pinetown Ethembeni Crisis Centre Abegail Mbongwa 031 704 6860 031 704 6640 072 224 3647 abegail.siza@gmail.com
8 Sundumbili The House of Hope and Recovery Lungile Nsele/Phatheka Sezi 032 454 2347 072 111 9536 lungilensele@yahoo.com

 

WESTERN CAPE

NO Area Shelter Contact Telephone Fax # Cell # Email
1 Athlone Saartjie Baartman Centre Bernadine BacharNSM ProvincialRepresentative 021 633 5287 021 637 3487 082 903 8739 director@womenscentre.co.za
2 Woodstock St. Annes Homes Joy LangeNSM Executive Member 021 448 6792 086 297 3917 071 906 3949 joy@stanneshomes.org.za

 

GAUTENG

No Area Shelter Contact Telephone    Fax # Cell # Email   
1 Alberton AMCARE Hannah House Delisile Cynthia Dube 011 869 5856 011 869 5639 965 911 7266 deli@amcare.org.za
2 Alexandra Bombani Shelter Rachel Nkosi 011 027 1513 072 244 1630 bombani.shelter@gmail.com
3 Benoni Antioch Place of Shelter Anele Moyo 011 073 0553 084 840 2402 anelemovo22@gmail.com
4 Carltonville SAVF Deurgangshuis Andri Engelbrecht 018 788 2116 018 786 1017 079 888 3737 savfcville@mweb.co.za
5 Daveyton Theodora Ndaba Victim Support Centre Nico Molefe 011 426 4776 011 424 0396 079 219 2707 victimsupp@polka.co.za
6 Ekurhuleni CTC Bethesda House Heila Van Staden 011 845 2224 011 845 2224 083 433 6505 heila@ctcchurch.co.za
7 Ekurhuleni POWA (East Rand) Mbalenhle Misibi 011 901 0292 011 901 0292 072 455 0087 vosloorus@powa.co.za
8 Ekurhuleni Mercy Haven Zizile Jaca 011 892 2714 011 892 4018 079 644 0273 zizile.jaca@gmail.com
9 Ekurhuleni House of Hope (t/a Leratong Crisis Centre) Claudette Westley 011 815 3346 011 363 1368 076 106 4983 cewestley@mweb.co.za
10 Florida POWA (West Rand) Jane Manana 011 472 6631 011 472 6631 072 171 4952 florida@powa.co.za
11 JHB Metro Usindiso Pastor Jean Bradley 011 334 1143/4 011 344 1206 082 902 4611 bradleyj@usindisoministries.co.za contact@usindisoministries.co.za
12 JHB Metro Ikhaya Lethemba(government-run shelter) Conny Ramathibela 011 242 3000/1/38 011 242 3017 083 286 7948 Nomsa.Ramathibela@gauteng.gov.za
13 JHB Metro Eldorado Park Women’s Forum Liezel Marais 011 945 6433 011 945 4300 072 950 7526 info@epwf.org.za
14 JHB Metro Home of Hope Khanyisile Motsa 011 331 4466 086 738 2162 073 250 2086 info@hopehome.org.za
15 JHB Metro Bethany Home Bridget Edwards 011 614 3245 011 624 2647 082 462 6495 Bethanyhome.edwards@gmail.com
16 Lenasia Ext 1 Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development Batsirai Bakare 011 854 5804/5 011 854 5718 083 303 1291 batsirai@nisaa.org.za
17 North Rand Beth Shan Shelter (Salvation Army) Major Moya Hay 012 327 2277 012 327 2506 083 290 1968 tsabethshan@telkomsa.net
18 North Rand Mali Martin Rudo MutasaNSM Provincial 013 935 8032 013 935 8031 083 684 7737 malimartin@penta-net.co.za
19 North Rand The Potter House Vistine Ntakirutimana 012 320 2123 012 322 9354 082 978 9020 info@tlf.org.za
20 Pretoria West Youth for Survival Lorraine Ledwaba 012 304 0001 076 103 4670 lerato.nkamba@yahoo.co.uk /

youthforsurvival2007@gmail.com

21 Pretoria, Atteridgeville Re-Bafenyi Vistim Empowerment Nonthandizo Ramoshaba 012 373 7948 071 607 3398 centremanager@rebafenvi.org
22 Sedibeng Bella Maria Colleen Rodgers(Centre Director) 016 428 1640 016 428 1741 082 401 2296 colleen@lifelinevaal.co.za

 

NORTH WEST

No Area Shelter Contact Telephone    Fax # Cell # Email   
1 Mooi Nooi Grace Help Shelter Rina van der Berg 014 574 3476 086 672 0022 072 348 6526 gracecentre@mweb.co.za

 

NORTHERN CAPE

No Area Shelter Contact Telephone    Fax # Cell # Email   
1 De Aar Ethembeni Community and Trauma Centre Clair Adriaanse/Rosaline Bailey NSM Provincial Representative 053 631 4379 053 631 4379 073 888 8738/063 250 0381 ectc@telkomsa.net
2 Upington Bopanang One Stop Centre Valarie Syster 054 332 3876 054 332 3620 0798841834 cvoss@ncpg.gov.za
3 Kimberley Kimberley Shelter P. Qondani 053 874 9263 079 527 5951 pqondani@ncpg.gov.za
4 Kimberley Tamar Shelter (currently under renovation) Yvonne Chan Yan 053 832 1954 082 677 1158 yvonne.chanyan@gmail.com

 

MPUMALANGA

No Area Shelter Contact Telephone    Fax # Cell # Email   
1 Arcornhoek Vuwiselo Shelter Mr Akimo Mabuso 060 826 4719  

 

073 254 5762 vuwiselovep100@gmail.com
2 Badplaas Badplass Shelter Lucy Shongwe 017 844 1454 017 844 1002 079 929 5922 badplaasshelter@gmail.com
3 Breyten Hands off Women & Children Martha Mphali 071 637 0110 081 010 2888 handsoffwomenandchildren@gmail.com
4 Inkomas Schoemansdale Victim Empowerment Thobile Shongwe 079 437 2012 079 793 3557 schoemansdalevep@gmail.com
5 Kwa-Mhlanga Leseding Women’s Shelter(government-run shelter) Sibongile Mabhena 013 947 2737 013 947 2771 072 029 5078 bongymabena@vodamail.co.za
6 Low’s Creek Louiville Shelter(government-run shelter) Sarah Gondwe 013 710 0105 013 752 6480 082 450 9082 gondwesarah1@gmail.com
7 Malubane Mkhuhlu Calcultta Shelter Thandeka Khosa 013 007 0864 086 551 1616 072 560 3966 calcuttavictimempowerment@gmail.com
8 Mmametlhake Tirisano Victim Empowerment Centre Ms Pretty Sebothoma 012 721 3872 012 721 3870 072 273

1538

9 Msogwaba Grace Shelter Nomvula Magagula 073 214 6585 013 794 0118 076 471 2123 nomvulasimphiwe@gmail.com
10 Nelspruit Grip Shelter Gugu Nyathi 013 752 4404 013 752 4497 082 514 5033 shelter@grip.org.za
11 Piet Retief Grip Shelter Thobile 072 686 1716 sibiyanoma37@gmail.com
12 Secunda Siphephile Haven Nozipho Ndlangamandla 063 631 9285 siphephilehaven@gmail.com
13 Thulamahashe Mhala Shelter Pearl Rikhotso 013 773 0871 013 773 0871 079 819 0923 pearlr.mp@gmail.com
14 Tonga Masikumeneni Shelter Rachel Nkosi 013 780

3364

 

 

079 321 6416 shabangus@webmail.co.za
15 Witbank Fovoc Victim Empoerment Centre Samantha Sibanda 013 656

0742

 

 

073 138 4788 samanthasibanda@hotmail.com
16 Remogo Shelter Matshidiso Serame 060 636

2837

17 Mpumalanga Provincial Shelter Movement Fisani Mahlangu 079 310

9633

mahlangufisani@yahoo.com

 

Can I obtain a Protection Order during the lockdown?

During the period of the lockdown the courts will remain open to her all applications for protection orders. During this time the courts will issue an interim protection order. Once the lockdown has come to an end the courts will then deal with final protection orders. At present however the courts have been overwhelmed with the number of matters that have been referred to it during the lockdown. The courts appear to be struggling to cope as domestic violence cases are simply increasing daily. However do not let this dissuade you from seeking help during this time as abusers will still be brought to justice nevertheless.

In order to apply for an interim protection order you will be required to go to the magistrate’s court in the area in which you live in. When you arrive at the court you will be required to make a written statement concerning the abuse and you will be required to complete an application form for a protection order. Once you have completed these two steps you will then be required to make a sworn statement to a clerk at the court that everything you have written in your statement is the truth. Thereafter you will be required to sign the application form which you have completed. Once you have signed the form the clerk to whom you have made your sworn statement to will sign and stamp the application. Thereafter the clerk will open a file on your behalf. The file will be given to the magistrate who will subsequently read through everything contained in the application and will make a decision. The magistrate can either dismiss your application due to there being no evidence of domestic violence or will grant the interim protection order or will arrange for the matter to be hard at a future date to allow the respondent an opportunity to relay their version of events.

If the interim order has been granted and subsequently served should any condition be breached by the respondent he/she will receive a fine, imprisonment or both.

Stay safe and DO NOT suffer in silence. This lockdown does not mean you have to endure any form of abuse. Please find additional helplines below: