The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC) was opened in 1999 as the first multi-disciplinary service (one-stop) centre for abused women and children in the country. This provided an opportunity for organisations to come together as partners to develop an appropriate on-site multi-agency service delivery model for the effective management, treatment and prevention of violence against women and children. It also presented an opportunity for a partnership approach between government departments and the non-governmental sector.
The Centre has since evolved to be the prime learning site nationally for providing holistic, integrated services to survivors of violence. Some of the services provided are managed directly by the Saartjie Baartman Centre. These include a 24-hour crisis response; a residential shelter and transitional housing for abused women and their children; legal assistance; and job-skills training. The other services are provided by organisations working in partnership at the Centre and include an after-hours crisis response for children; specialised counselling services in rape/sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse, trauma and domestic violence; job-skills training and job placement projects; HIV/AIDS programmes; community outreach; advocacy and lobbying; training; and research.
The Centre is situated in Manenberg on the Cape Flats, an area with extremely high rates of crime, gangsterism, child abuse, unemployment, substance abuse and domestic violence. There are few resources available in Manenberg and the surrounding areas and as a result the Centre provides services to a wide range of constituencies: neighbouring townships, farming communities in the Phillippi, Constantia, and Stellenbosch areas, and 'informal' settlements.