Social welfare services offered at shelters to female victims of domestic violence
Thesis (M Social Work (Social Work))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
An exploratory and descriptive research design was selected together with a combination of both a quantitative and qualitative research approach to obtain the necessary information, insight and knowledge regarding the social welfare services offered to female victims of domestic violence in shelters. The motivation for this investigation stemmed from the lack of information on social welfare services offered to these female victims. The researcher became aware of this lack of information due to the fact that only limited studies and investigations had been done into the social welfare services offered to female victims of domestic violence within South Africa. The goal of this study is therefore to gain a better understanding of the social welfare services offered to female victims of domestic violence in shelters in order to provide recommendations to social service practitioners for the improvement of social welfare services in such circumstances. The literature study firstly focused on the theories, conceptualisation and dimensions of domestic violence in order to gain an understanding and knowledge base of the theories that describe domestic violence, concepts that provide an understanding of the phenomenon of domestic violence as well the dimensions of domestic violence. Furthermore, the literature study focuses on the policies, legislations and the government’s commitment to address domestic violence in South Africa. The primary focus of the literature study was to investigate the social welfare services that are offered to female victims of domestic violence in shelters. The researcher contacted the Department of Social Development of the Western Cape in order to identify the shelter organisations that offer social welfare services to female victims of domestic violence and finally a purposive sampling was done of ten shelters in the Western Cape Metropole area which offer social welfare services to female victims of domestic violence. A qualitative and quantitative investigation was performed by means of conducting semi-structured interviews with the aid of an interview guide. The results of the investigation mainly confirmed the findings of the literature study that domestic violence is an inherent part of the life in South Africa, also that domestic violence has a variety of causes and consequences and that social welfare services offered to female victims of domestic violence are an important part of the process of empowerment in shelters. The recommendations were aimed at services in shelters and professional persons involved in the rehabilitation and empowerment of abused women during their accommodation in the shelters. The recommendations also included further research to explore the impact of these social welfare services on female residents, and to address the areas where social welfare services fall short in order to provide insight into the development of other social welfare services that are needed by female residents when entering a shelter.