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Introduction: Gender Based Violence (GBV) has become a topical issue in the development field being a reality in life which is happening in all societies regardless of race, class, culture and income status. Safe shelters are set up as free services given to desperate GBV survivors and their use need to be explored from the stand point of beneficiaries.
Methods: A qualitative research design was adopted using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions (FDGs) and carried out on Gender Forum Members, GBV survivors, GBV key informants and stakeholders on their perceptions on the protective measures associated with GBV victims safe shelters. A total of 42 participants were recruited. Fourteen females and twelve males were involved FDGs (n = 26), six females GBV (n = 6) survivors and ten Gender Forum Members (n = 10) participated in in depth interviews.
Results: All participants were willing to give their perceptions on the subject under study. Perceptions were that women in GBV were empowered at the safe shelters where protection, counselling and sociopsychological support was given. Women were reintegrated with their families when ready to do so. Stakeholders were appreciative of the services offered to those who fell victim to GBV as shown by FDGs, in-depth interviews and document reviews. This acceptability was taken despite cultural and religious factors that are still hindering the uptake of safe shelter services being rendered.
Conclusion: It is prudent that an integrated and holistic approach is taken to issues of GBV is key to the management of survivors of GBV. The shelters provided much needed respite from GBV. The church, traditional structures, Gender Forum membership and the Ministry of Women Affairs Gender and Community Development (MWAGCD) should collaborate. A dedicated transport mechanism in responding to cases of GBV is needed. However, the use of the safe shelters seems not to be able to carter for male adult GBV victims.
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