NGOs urge Minister Gordhan to address the chronic under-funding of rape and domestic violence services

25 February 2014

NGOs urge Minister Gordhan to address the chronic under-funding of rape and domestic violence services and the under-valuing of NGOs’ work.

Ahead of the National Budget speech on Wednesday, 26 February the Shukumisa Campaign is urging Minister Pravin Gordhan to recognise demands for better services for survivors of rape and domestic violence. This is in the wake of a report released today by the Campaign which found that funding cuts to just 17 organisations serving this group of victims led to the loss of 100 jobs between 2010 and 2013. At least 10 services provided by these 17 organisations were also closed.

“Good social services to survivors of rape and domestic violence are not a luxury,” the Campaign noted. “They’re a necessity. Domestic violence causes the greatest number of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder in women, while rape results in the most serious and long-lasting forms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is deeply concerning that the outrage and condemnation voiced by politicians around violence against women is not being matched by funding to the services helping women cope with this violence.”

The 2011 decision by the Department of Social Development (DSD) to fund only 75% of salaries has also exacerbated organisations’ financial difficulties. Because such low salaries make it difficult to attract and retain experienced employees, high levels of staff turnover constantly disrupt programmes and services. “We cannot imagine government departments asking those who deliver text books, or build stadiums, hospitals and roads, to work for only 75% of their fee and without profit. Why are social services being treated as less valued forms of work?” the Campaign’s members asked.

In 2012 and 2013 the Minister of Finance announced a range of additions to the equitable share which were intended to address the crisis faced by the non-profit sector. We hope that his Budget for 2014 will recognise that this crisis has not been resolved. We also urge National Treasury to closely monitor how DSD allocates funds earmarked for organisations. A review of the 2013 provincial budget books showed that all the additional money set aside by the Minister of Finance for the non-profit sector did not reach organisations because some provincial DSD offices interpreted ‘support’ to mean monitoring of NGOs. The funds were thus allocated to internal government expenses, rather than organisations.
The short bulletin released today is the first in a number of briefs and research reports around good services to rape and domestic violence survivors which the Shukumisa Campaign will release over the coming months.

For further information on the effect of funding cuts please contact:
Linda Brukwe, Ikhwezi Women’s Support Centre – 0722703547
Shireen Motara, Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre – 011 403-4267
Barbara Kenyon, Greater Rape Intervention Project – 0795287326

For information on the funding bulletin please contact Lisa Vetten, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research – 0828226725

The Shukumisa Campaign consists of 30 partner organisations that work to support rape survivors and end sexual violence in South Africa. Members include Childline, People Opposing Women Abuse, Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust and the Women’s Legal Centre among others.

Follow the debate @Shukumisa on #Womensbudget

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