Minister Mbombo opens Victoria Hospital’s refurbished Forensic Unit
Minister Mbombo opened Victoria Hospital’s refurbished Clinical Forensic Unit
Monday, 25 May 2015
Victoria Hospital’s Clinical Forensic Unit received a much needed makeover to allow trained Rape Crisis counsellors the opportunity to assist and provide counselling to survivors in a unit that can comfortably cater for the needs of rape victims. Donors from the Inner Wheel Clubs of Tafelberg, Claremont and Waterfront, and designer Elize Gazeau, with the assistance of individual donors and the Rape Crisis organisation, graciously donated towards the three month renovation project valued at R45 000.00.
One donor from the Inner Wheel Clubs Tafelberg, Maxie Christen said that she and another member managed to donate money from the profits they made from selling the club’s Friends and Family cookbook. All of these donations are appreciated by the Western Cape Government’s Health Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, who personally thanked donors and officially opened up the renovated unit for the use of rape survivors on Monday, 25 May 2015.
“The unit which handles approximately 160 cases per month, of which 60 percent includes rape victims, focuses on forensic issues related to accidents, victims of rape, emergency cases, and the medico-legal management of survivors of sexual offences of a large geographical drainage area covering 22 police stations in Cape Town,” says Marianne Tiemensma, the unit’s forensic doctor.
The unit has been in operation since 2006, and offers a 24 hour service to patients who seek healthcare relating to accidents, sexual assault, injuries and trauma. “Most of our survivors from alleged sexual offences are children, teenagers and young adult females, and we are able to offer counselling via our Rape Crisis counsellors after receiving a health grant last year September from NACOSA,” says Dr Tiemensma.
“To attend to a rape survivor is a sensitive procedure, and we follow a strict process of examination when the survivor presents to the unit,” says Dr Tiemensma. The survivor is seen to by the Clinical Forensic Unit staff, and offered containment counselling by the Rape Crisis counsellor, after that the attending medical practitioner and nursing staff attend to the survivor. Procedures are explained, consent for the examination and evidence collection is requested, and the survivor is prepared for the examination. The survivor’s medical history is obtained, and he/she is then examined, evidence is collected, and further medical tests are done on the survivor (pregnancy, HIV-test, RPR test). Based on the results of these tests, post-exposure prophylaxis against HIV, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections are offered, and follow-up visits are scheduled. The survivor is then offered a comfort pack, and a shower/bath, and if he/she prefers to see the counsellor again, they may do so.