To see individuals live their full potential in intimate relationships and families in a society that is free from gender based violence.


To advance a coordinated, multi sectoral, culturally competent restorative justice response to violence against women and children by:

  • Being a resource to religious leaders, institutions and faith communities as they hold offenders accountable and ensure the safety and empowerment of victims/survivors by offering opportunity for truth telling and healing of individuals and families.
  • To challenge, from a theological perspective, patriarchal traditions and other root causes of intimate partner abuse and violence that destroys the dignity of women, children and men, and
  • To encourage the promotion of scriptural and the theological teachings that encourage intimate relationships that set people free to live their full potential in supportive unions.


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 build 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.

Elizabeth Petersen holds a Masters Degree in Social Work (2006) from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She began her professional career in 1993 as a social worker at St. Anne’s Homes in Cape Town, a century old Anglican shelter caring for abused and homeless women and children, and became their Director in 1997. For the past 16 years, Elizabeth contributed extensively to the shelter sector. Her contributions include being coordinator of the WC shelter focus group for several years and playing a leading role in placing the housing needs of women exiting shelters on the national and local government agenda. Together with her colleagues in the shelter sector, the WC Transitional and Special Needs Housing Forum was established and she played a key role in helping to establish the Shelter Movement of SA.

She is passionate about women’s issues and the plight of the marginalized and has addressed various local and international audiences to help bring about gender & racial sensitivity and equality. Her quest for addressing root causes of violence against women let her to establish South African Faith and Family Institute in 2008 with the intention of creating a coordinated restorative justice response to domestic violence with particular focus on building capacity in the faith sector and holding perpetrators accountable for their abusive behaviour.

Her extensive work in the domestic violence sector and her faith commitment and church leadership enables her to bring these sectors together in the quest to break the cycle of violence and abuse. She has recently (Jul09) completed a Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship program in the USA which afforded her the opportunity to establish critical partnerships with colleagues in the Sates to advance the work in South Africa.

Vimla Pillay - from the Hindu Faith
She is a qualified Social worker and obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree and Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Social Work from the University of Durban, Westville. She has done a number of special courses and papers presented at conferences from 1988-2012. She served as the Executive Director of the Trauma Centre for 6 years, and since 2013 she serves as the Deputy Director of the Cape Mental Health.
Vimla played a leading role and participated in the parliament of World Religions in 1999 when it was hosted in Cape Town she was instrumental in the development of the interfaith movement in Cape Town.


The Reverend Mpho A. Tutu
Reverend Mpho A. Tutu, an Episcopal priest, She is the current Executive Director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer & Pilgrimage. Rev Tutu has run ministries for children in the downtown Worcester, Massachusetts; for rape survivors in
Grahamstown in South Africa; and for refugees from South Africa and Namibia at the Phelps Stokes Fund in New York City. She earned her MDiv from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and began her ordained ministry at Historic Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Rev. Tutu is an experienced preacher, teacher, and retreat facilitator. With her father, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, she has authored several published books, "Made for Goodness" and "The Book of Forgiving". The Reverend Mpho Tutu is the Chairperson Emeritus on the board of the Global AIDS Alliance, the Chairperson of the Board of Advisors of the 911 Unity Walk, and a trustee of Angola University.

Mpho's Statement of support for SAFFI
I am proud to support the work of SAFFI. The family is the core of our society. The model of family life is the model that we carry into our larger community. A flourishing society demands healthy family relationships. Families in which all can live in safety and without fear of violence. The shalom of the biblical promise begins with shalom in our homes. You too must support the important work that SAFFI is undertaking to restore health and wellbeing to our household.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
The Most Revd Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba has served as the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa since January 2008. He holds two honorary Doctorates in Divinity from the General Theological Seminary (2009) and from Huron University College (2013). He has taught MBA students at the University of Cape Town on Ethical Leadership and Stewardship.

In 2011 July till April 2012 he was a commissioner for the Press Freedom Commission. He is the Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape. (2012). He also graduated with a PhD from the University of Cape Town in December 2009 with Thesis on: Workplace Spirituality. Central to his career life has been his ordained ministry. He has set up, and serves on the boards of, a number of non-profit organizations including being a Patron of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum. His interests include reading theology, walking, writing, and promoting leadership development. His publications include ‘Connectedness’, a book of autobiographical reflections (2005)

Board Members

Barry Isaacs
Rev Barry Isaacs is an Ordained Christian Minister, Marriage Counselor and Conference speaker. He is Director of Three Cord Family Development Services, Chair of The Evangelical Alliance South Africa (TEASA), Regional Coordinator for Global Day of Prayer Transformation Network: Western Cape;
Executive Member of Consultation of Christian Churches and Deputy President of Africa Arise Missions Ministry.

She completed a BA Social work degree at UNISA and a Master of Social Science in Management and Supervision at Stellenbosch University. She has worked in the fields of drug rehabilitation and psychiatry. Also worked at Stellenbosch University for five years as social work lecturer prior to joining FAMSA in 1999 as the Clinical Manager. In 2001 became the Director of FAMSA

Amelia Jones
A qualified Social Worker. She served in various management roles in several non-profit organizations in Cape Town. In 1993 she was appointed as the Community Investment Allocations Manager at the Community Chest of the Western Cape. This was quite historic as she was the first black Manager in the Community Chest Movement. In 1996 she became its first black female Chief Executive
Officer and through her leadership she managed to grow the Chest into a vibrant multi-cultural donor who made each and every one of its beneficiaries feel like a true partner. She introduced capacity building training programs into the Chest’s commitment to its beneficiaries and thus made it possible for the poorest of the poor to benefit from the Chest's funds. The Community Chest entered the global philanthropic space through Jones' formal association with United Way Worldwide (UWW), the largest and most respected institution promoting philanthropy and advancing the common good globally. She has represented the Community Chest on numerous global philanthropic platforms. As co-chair of the United Way Worldwide Annual conference, she assisted in the development of global standards, guidelines and frameworks for philanthropic policy and practice. In 2014 the University of the Western Cape conferred on her an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Philosophy Social Work.

Zarina Majiet - from the Muslim faith
She completed her Social Work Degree in the University of Western Cape in 1981. She is currently doing her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Western Cape and her Thesis focuses on the theme: "Are boys who grow with Gender Based Violence likely to become adult perpetrators of intimate partner violence?"
She worked for MOSAIC training service and healing
centre for women, situated in Wynberg, Cape Town as the Operations Manager. Currently she is an HIV Adherence Specialist at Networking HIV, AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA)

Gina Flash - from the Jewish Faith
She has a Diploma in Interior Design from the Design Time School of Interior Design in Cape Town as well as a Qualification in Project Management and a Bachelor of Design in Communication Design. She holds the Communications & Social Development Manager position at the Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies. She is a member of Social Justice Action Group Temple Beth
Israel, Melbourne.

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