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Victim Empowerment

PURPOSE

The Department of Community Safety and Liaison has a Victim Empowerment Directorate under the Community Liaison Chief Directorate which aims to promote and support victim empowerment.

WHAT IS VICTIM EMPOWERNMENT?

The victim empowerment directorate has the responsibility of promoting and supporting victim empowerment in the province. The role of this directorate can be achieved through assessing the establishment of Victim Friendly Facilities, developing and promoting special support programmes for victims and Initiating Awareness Campaigns for vulnerable groups.

VE Directorate realizes that the problem of Domestic violence should not be solely left to the law enforcers but should be treated as a social problem and engage various stakeholders in critical debates yet positively find amicable solutions, hence it promotes the establishment of Victim support network through the assessment of Victim Friendly Facilities in the Police stations in response to the National Priority and the fact that Police rely on victims, witnesses and their families to report crime, participate in the investigation process and testify in court.

OPERATION KHUZUMHLOLA

In supporting victims the directorate has named its projects as “Operation Khuzumhlola” it is a programme that promote the support for Victims through its initiatives of targeting  vulnerable groups  such as Elders, Women, Children and Men. The operation is taken from   a Zulu word with a strong message meaning “reprimand / discourage an unacceptable habit” Khuz’umhlola is just about restoring ubuntu & morals back to the people and communities.

AWARENESS RAISING PROGRAMMES

With regards to awareness raising programmes where we observe Human Rights calendar of events is one way of reaching out to the Victims of Domestic Violence. We conduct provincial conferences and provide a platform to engage our stakeholders in encouraging them to form united front against domestic violence. Over and above that the directorate will develop a resource Book that will contain  all SAPS VFF’s contact details and information on Domestic Violence as well as Victim Charter in the Z-Card format already exist  and  is distributed throughout the province. 

WHAT ARE THE KEY FUNCTIONS OF THIS DIRECTORATE? 

  • To assess effectiveness of South African Police Victim Friendly Facilities
  • To assess the effectiveness of Non-Governmental Victim Support Centres
  • To establish a Provincial Victim Support Network
  • Establish Victim Friendly Facilities (VFF) at priority police stations
  • Recruit and train volunteers to serve Victim Friendly Facilities (VFF)
  • Implement “Safe Teas”  Programmes for the elderly
  • Implement programmes for vulnerable groups
  • Maintain existing Programmes for vulnerable groups
  • Maintain existing programmes and support for victims
  • Increase awareness of protective rights amongst vulnerable groups  
  • Initiate projects and programmes on gender equality
  • Conduct Victim centered studies

THE ESTABLISHMENTS OF VICTIM FRIENDLY FACILITIES ENSURE THAT: 

  • Victims are treated in a professional, private, sensitive manner and referred to support services in the community.
  • A win-win situation is created for victims and the police i.e. Victims are more able to cope with the impact of victimization and recover while the police obtain a better quality statement which will assist the investigations and have committed witnesses to testify in court.
  • The production and the distribution of information Z-cards is the Response to the State of the National and Provincial address in intensifying the implementation of the Victims Charter to help Victims of Domestic Violence.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

In response to supporting and promoting special programes for vulnerable groups, we encourage stakeholders to work with the police to find solutions to problems and challenges that affect all of us. As we all know domestic violence is no longer a family problem but a societal problem.

The prevalence of domestic violence means that although we may see it, it is all around us, in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our places of work, joint solutions seems to be a success. As a directorate we have identified what we see as the root causes of the problem and are confident that through joint and sustained action we can reduce the prevalence of these crimes.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the causes of crime:

  • Unemployment and the poverty and the psychological stresses that this causes
  • High levels of alcoholism, stemming from this stress, which triggers much of the crime
  • Attitudes of sexism that makes a man believe that he has the right to do what he pleases to women and children
  • Connected to this is a culture of violence that makes people believe that violence can be a solution to their problems
  • A belief among those thinking about committing a crime that they shall get away with it
  • The same belief that criminals shall get away with it by their victims
  • A lack of access to help from the government for the victim
  • And a lack of care shown by government in ensuring the victim is assisted and the perpetrators are brought to justice

Through our interaction we identify those that are victimized i.e. children, women and the elderly to work out what makes them vulnerable to victimization.

IN THE CASE OF CHILDREN

  • Children are often left without proper supervision when they go to work. The presence in these homes of unemployed men, many of whom have alcoholism problems, has led to many cases of the physical and sexual abuse of children.
  • Oftentimes, the mother who works is the only breadwinner, and cannot afford a crèche or to employ a caregiver.
  • We understand that there are not enough crèches for the community to send its children to.
  • We know that children are exposed to rape because many have to walk to school – often long distances along quiet rural roads past and through bushes and sugarcane fields.

IN THE CASE OF WOMEN AND PARTICULARLY YOUNG WOMEN

  • Many do not know their rights to protection and assistance if they are victimized (both in and outside the family)
  • Many are not sensitively and professionally assisted when they request protection and report crimes
  • Many young girls expose themselves to danger by going to adult recreational places such as bars and clubs
  • Many young women are pressured in by their peers and families into relationships with young men that they are not old or mature enough to enter into
  • Some young women are known to accuse the young men they have willingly been when challenged by their parents

IN THE CASE OF THE ELDERLY

  • Many elderly people are abused because their abusers, ordinary criminals or even members of their family, think that they can get away with it.
  • Victimization maybe a result of criminal efforts to steal their pension money and other possessions from them.
  • The criminals are correct in thinking that it is difficult for the elderly to report crimes and obtain other forms of government assistance to protect them.

IN THE CASE OF YOUNG MEN

Young men are often the most victimized group when it comes to assault and murder and yet they are often seen as the problem most of the time

Young men are victimized often because they take risks: going to places at times when no other member of the community would risk going there because of the threat of crime.  Like other groups they are also vulnerable to becoming victims of domestic violence.

Due to their risk-taking nature many young men are exposed to alcohol and drug abuse, found in possession of illegal firearms, and participate in syndicates criminal groups.

Many young men are also unaware of their rights and the assistance and protection that government offers; hence victim empowerment directorate was established to bridge that gap.

These are just some of the root causes of contact crime as identified; we have developed a number of projects to address the above challenges namely:

WIDOWS PROGRAMME

  • This  is a  long- term programme and that be maintained in district municipalities and will be supported in ensuring that the Widows Forums are established  in all district municipalities

The objective is to see an organized Provincial Widows network established and launched in the Province where widows will on a yearly basis come together & share their successes, frustrations, share best practices for replication in other areas.

WOMEN SAFETY AUDIT

  • This is an ongoing programme done in the name of crime prevention through environmental design. Women Safety Audit is a community based method of identifying and addressing daily crime threats and fear of crime experienced by women.
  • This programme aims to raise awareness on rights of children and Promote protective rights of vulnerable groups and also promote a secure environment for women and children. It also fosters integration of services towards women, children and elderly abuse programme.

 MEN’S PROGRAMME 

  • Men’s programme which encompasses the Men for Change Programme called “Injobo enhle ithungelwa ebandla “is a long-term programme.
  • The Veterans programme which was introduced by the State of the Nation address and Polokwane resolutions as vulnerable group has also been incorporated here and a conference on the two will be held in September 2008 in the Ethekwini Metro. The conference will endeavor to get the fundamental issues that affect both men and veterans and the kind of assistance and role they would like to play or what intervention or contribution they may make in promoting their safety and that of the citizens.

ELDERS PROGRAMME 

  • Safe Teas programme is long-term. This programme will be maintained at all districts throughout the year in the promotion of Older Person’s Act. On 13 June 2008, Age –in-Action, the Elderly Organization staged a Big Walk against Older Person’s Abuse and the department received a memorandum on behalf of the MEC which came with the framed “Declaration of the Rights Of the Elderly in acknowledgement of the tremendous work that the department has done in promoting safety of Older Persons, through the “Safe Teas Programme”.

Through the Victim Empowerment Directorate, the Department observes the Humans Rights Calendar of Events namely:

  • Child Protection Week
  • International Women’s Day
  • International Day for Elders
  • 16 days of Activism
  • International Day for people living with disability
  • Human Rights Day

VICTIM EMPOWERMENT DIRECTORATE TEAM

Mrs Khaladi Mbongwe
Senior Manager: Victim Empowerment
Office: 033 341 9309
Cell: 082 554 2469
E-mail:
khaladi.mbongwe@comsafety.gov.za

Ms Kamy Naidoo
Secretary to Manager : Victim Empowerment
Office: 033 341 9300
E-mail:
kamy.naidoo@comsafety.gov.za

Mr Lious Makhaya
Admin Officer
Office: 033 341 9300
E-mail:
louis.makhanya@comsafety.gov.za

Ms Sibongile Mbanjwa
Victim Liaison Officer
Office: 033 341 9300
Cell: 082 301 1774
E-mail:
sibongile.mbanjwa@comsafety.gov.za

Mr William Adams
Victim Liaison Officer
Office: 033 341 9300
Cell: 082 301 1779
E-mail:
william.adams@comsafety.gov.za

Mrs Nozipho Madikizela
Victim Liaison Officer
Cell: 082 776 7500
Office: 033 341 9300
E-mail:
nozipho.madikizela@comsafety.gov.za


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