South African Domestic Violence Shelter Faces Threats of Closing
Monday, December 11, 2006 10:23 AM

The Sinethemba Shelter for Domestic Violence Victims has offered survivors  temporary housing in the southern coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal.  As the only shelter of its kind in the region, the shelter provides resources and safety for women who are survivors from a variety of family violence, including infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Sinethemba partners with area service providers to assists shelter residents and their children with legal, medical and social welfare resources.  In addition, staff provide emotional support and temporary housing to promote safety of survivors.  The staff will often stretch resources beyond capacity, rather than turn those in need away. 

Because the building they are currently renting is up for sale, Sintehemba is threatened with closing.  Although the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 requires police to assist victims in securing temporary housing, the Umondi Municipality, who owns a possible site for the shelter, is leaving staff in limbo.  Amnesty International points to this and United Nations requirements to assist women survivors of or at risk of violence as crucial to ensuring the maintenance of the shelter, and calls on government officials to assist the shelter as an obilgation.  

Compiled from: "South Africa: Shelter under Threat" Amnesty International.