Our Story

The South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI) was founded in 2008 in Cape Town. With over 20 years of experience as a practicing social worker, managing director of a Home for abused women and children Elizabeth Petersen established SAFFI in recognition that South Africans are trying to raise healthy families in a profoundly violent yet very religious society.

Elizabeth Petersen along with her team has developed understandings of the faith dimensions and root causes of violence against women and girls and engaged with a multi-faith, inter-sectoral network to design strategies and trainings for religious leaders, faith communities and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) service providers in order to expand safety options and empowerment services to women/girls and accountability and personal restorative justice for abusive men. SAFFI has established itself as a credible resource of hope, healing and transformation in the South African society as we make it possible for people to reclaim and affirm their humanity in intimate relationships, homes and communities. On a daily basis ordinary people including religious leaders and faith communities find our training and our Ubuntu-grounded approach to interventions with victims and perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence (GBV)/Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA) innovative and helpful. Through connecting various government and civil society stakeholders during our trainings and consultations, we cultivate hope for individuals and families who remain vulnerable and who have limited, if any, access to these resources.


The South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI) recognizes that religion plays an integral part both in the continuation of Violence against Women and in its eradication. Thus SAFFI’s main objective is to strengthen the capacity of religious leaders and faith communities in addressing issues of gender based violence in our communities and becoming a positive catalyst for change.

 Such intervention requires both open critique of theological teachings and interrogation of sacred texts. This is done through workshops, seminars, dialogues and conversation. SAFFI seeks to offer technical support to faith communities in developing denominational or faith specific material on prevention and intervention which would include policies and procedural guidelines for working with victims / survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence (DV).

 Through its work, SAFFI encourages the faith sector to work closely with existing DV service providers and the justice system in providing collaborative community based initiatives. The intention is that faith leaders are encouraged to dispel any misinterpretation of scriptures and promote sound contextualized faith resources.

Reach Us


73 Burns Road, Salt River, Cape Town, 7915

+27 21 462 2277

+27 21 462 2276


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